Public Health and Injection Drug Use | Addiction Medicine | JAMA | JAMA Network
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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
June 6, 2001

Public Health and Injection Drug Use

JAMA. 2001;285(21):2706. doi:10.1001/jama.285.21.2706

MMWR. 2001;50:377

This issue of MMWR focuses on injection drug use and highlights ways that state and local health departments monitor injection drug use-related health issues and develop interventions to prevent substance abuse and infections among injection drug users (IDUs). Substance abuse and addiction are major underlying causes of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States.1 The risks increase when illicit substances are injected, which contributes to multiple health and social problems for IDUs, including transmission of bloodborne infections (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] and hepatitis B and C infections) through sharing unsterile drug injection equipment and practicing unsafe sex.2 In the United States, approximately one third of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome cases3 and one half of new hepatitis C cases4 are associated with injection drug use. Fatal drug overdoses also contribute to death among IDUs.5 Although the number of persons who inject illicit drugs (primarily heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine) is not available, approximately one million persons in the United States are active IDUs.6

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