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February 26, 1973

Infections in Heroin Addicts

Author Affiliations

Infectious Disease Service Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York

JAMA. 1973;223(9):1036-1037. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220090056014

The social and economic effects of heroin on the users and on the population at large are immense. Many people are discussing the problems and too little is being done. That the real and final solution is social and political might properly put discussion out of the scope of this editorial, but in the more strictly medical sense there is a great deal of progress in our understanding of the disease of heroin addiction and the complications that come from it.

There are increasing reports of infectious disease complications in addicts and users; part of this is undoubtedly due to the increased awareness of physicians in large city hospitals where most patients are seen. It is also due to a real increase in less common complications. The range of orthodox infectious complications of heroin usage has been well reviewed1,2 and broadly includes those associated with the contaminated material itself,