Hepatitis On the Rise in Oregon
According to a new report from the Oregon Health Authority, reports of hepatitis are increasing at an alarming rate.
About the Hepatitis Epidemic
In the state of Oregon, the hepatitis mortality rate was about twice the national average reports KGW. Researchers also found that people were six times more likely to die from hepatitis than HIV. The highest mortality rates occurred in Asians, Pacific Islanders, and blacks.
In addition, reported cases of liver cancer doubled in the last 10 years. More than half of these cases were caused by chronic viral hepatitis. The Oregon Health & Science University reported that half of all liver transplants were needed because of hepatitis C.
Dr. Ann Thomas, principal author of the Oregon Health Authority’s report, said she hopes the information will help public and health professionals. Thomas also pointed out that intravenous drug use is the main reason for the surge in hepatitis cases.
Heroin use has been on the rise in Oregon. As a result, Thomas stressed the importance of clean and safe needle exchange programs.
Statistics on Heroin Use in Oregon
The following information has been provided by the Oregon Health Authority:
- In 2011, about 157 of every 100,000 people used heroin
- Heroin accounted for 16% of all unintentional and undetermined drug overdose deaths in 2012
- Opioids caused the highest rate of overdose deaths than any other drug in 2012
- 25-34 year olds had the highest rates of heroin use
- 23% of drug-related hospitalizations were because of heroin or other opioids