Opioid Epidemic and Rise in Hepatitis
What is it?
Widespread misuse and abuse of opioid pain medication and heroin. Misuse and abuse of opioids can lead to overdose and even death.
Public Health Risk
Increased risk of addiction, increased risk of criminal behavior, increased risk of spread of disease (i.e. Hepatitis C and HIV), increased risk of overdose, increased risk of death
Hep B: Liver disease. Caused by contact with Hep B Virus in bodily fluids (i.e. blood, semen), sharing needles and other drug injection equipment, through childbirth from the mother to child, and through sharing personal hygiene products (i.e. razors and toothbrushes). Symptoms include: fever, pain in the stomach, dark colored pee, joint pain, and jaundice (yellowish skin and eyes)
Prevent contraction of Hep B through vaccination, safe needle use, and personal hygiene tools (don’t share)
Hep C: Liver disease. Caused by contact with Hep C Virus in bodily fluids (i.e. blood, semen), sharing needles and other drug injection equipment, through blood transfusions and organ transplants prior to 1992, tattoos and body piercings in non-sterile environments, sharing personal hygiene products (i.e. razors and toothbrushes)
Prevent contraction of Hep C through safe needle use, personal hygiene tools (don’t share), and sterile body piercing and tattooing environments.
Local Information & Data
In 2016, 33 Rock County residents died of an opioid involved death
The opioid overdose death rate has been steadily increasing. In 2016, the rate was 20.3 opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 people in the population, or 1 out of every 4,900 people.
On average in 2016, 78.2 prescription of opioids were prescribed per 100 people (People may receive more than one prescription).
What Can We Do About It
The public health department and the citizens of Rock County can work towards preventing the initial use of opioids. If possible, always ask about an opioid alternative. Whether you’re managing chronic pain, anticipating an upcoming surgery, or have an injury that requires pain management, opioids should be considered as a last resort.
We advise that you never take a prescription medication that is not specifically written for you and to encourage the people around you to do the same. If you have an opioid prescription, we recommend that you get a lock box to help keep family members and others safe. If possible, attend a community Narcan training to learn how to reverse an opioid overdose with the life-saving drug, Narcan.
To reduce the spread of disease, we recommend that needles and equipment be discarded after one use, in a container that others cannot easily access. Make an effort to sterilize everything, every time for maximum protection.
For more information about Hepatitis C testing and needle exchange call ARCW-Beloit: 608-364-4027