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Increase in Hepatitis C Infections Linked to Worsening Opioid Crisis

December 21, 2017 – Spike in new infections could have devastating long-term consequences

New CDC research suggests that the recent steep increase in cases of acute hepatitis C virus infection is associated with increases in opioid injection.

The study examines data from CDC’s hepatitis surveillance system and from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national database that tracks admissions to substance use disorder treatment facilities in all 50 states. Across the nation, researchers found substantial, simultaneous increases in acute hepatitis C (133 percent) and admissions for opioid injection (93 percent) from 2004 to 2014. These increases were seen at not only the national level, but also when data were analyzed by state, by age, and by race and ethnicity. Taken together, the findings point to a close relationship between the two troubling trends.

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Graphics: Hepatitis C and Opioid Injection Rose Dramatically among Certain Groups of Americans

The following graphics highlight major findings from CDC’s analysis of hepatitis C increases and opioid injection from 2004-2014. Three distinct line charts illustrate dramatic rises in hepatitis C infection and opioid injection among white Americans, women, and younger Americans.

These high-resolution, public domain images are ready to download and print in your publication. Click on a graphic to see it in high-resolution. For your convenience, we have included a table that contains the specific data from the report used to generate these charts.

These images are in the public domain and are thus free of any copyright restrictions. As a matter of courtesy, we ask that the content provider be credited and notified of any public or private usage of an image.

This line graph shows trends from 2004 to 2014 in rates of acute hepatitis C among white Americans alongside trends in the percentage of drug treatment admissions among white Americans reporting injection of any opioid. It shows that among white Americans, HCV increased by 300% and admissions for opioid injection by 134%.

Hepatitis C and Opioid Injection Rose Dramatically among White Americans from 2004-2014

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Among white Americans, HCV increased by 300% and drug treatment admissions for opioid injection by 134% from 2004-2014.

This line graph shows trends from 2004 to 2014 in rates of acute hepatitis C among women alongside trends in the percentage of drug treatment admissions among women reporting injection of any opioid. It shows that among women, HCV increased by 250% and admissions for opioid injection by 99%.

Hepatitis C and Opioid Injection Rose Dramatically among Women from 2004-2014

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Among women, HCV increased by 250% and drug treatment admission for opioid injection by 99% from 2004-2014.

This line graph shows trends from 2004 to 2014 in rates of acute hepatitis C among younger Americans alongside trends in the percentage of drug treatment admissions among younger Americans reporting injection of any opioid. It shows that among people aged 18 to 29, HCV increased by 400% and admission for opioid injection by 622%. Among people aged 30 to 39, HCV increased by 325% and admissions for opioid injection by 83%.

Hepatitis C and Opioid Injection Rose Dramatically in Younger Americans from 2004-2014

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Among people aged 18 to 29, HCV increased by 400% and admissions for opioid injection by 622%. Among people aged 30 to 39, HCV increased by 325% and admissions for opioid injection by 83% from 2004-2014.

Illustration of the Hepatitis C virus

Illustration of Hepatitis C Virus

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