Videos from “Hidden Casualties” Opioid Meeting Now Available
Drug overdose is currently the leading cause of death among persons under 50 years old in the United States. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that more than 90 Americans die each day from opioid overdose, including heroin. Another important, but lesser known consequence of the opioid epidemic is that increases in injection drug use are driving up rates of infectious diseases and related conditions. For example, hepatitis C virus (HCV) rates have risen nearly 300%, and in some regions, increases have also been seen hepatitis B virus (HBV), HIV, endocarditis, septic arthritis, epidural abscess, osteomyelitis, and infants exposed to HCV.
To address this health threat, the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy recently convened a meeting of federal stakeholders, entitled Hidden Casualties: Consequences of the Opioid Epidemic on the Spread of Infectious Diseases. The speakers included: Dr. Don Wright, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH); Dr. Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General; Dr. Jonathan Mermin, Director, CDC’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention; Dr. Christopher Jones, Acting Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, Science and Data Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation; and Dr. Vanila Singh, Chief Medical Officer, OASH. Videos of selected presentations from the Hidden Casualties meeting are available on the HHS hepatitis blog.