Serious Heart Infections Add to Problems & Death Toll for IV Drug Users
IV drug users having problems is nothing new. After all, addiction can affect an addict’s ability to function properly by bringing financial, relationship, and legal problems into their life. Not only is this true, but an addiction to drugs also impacts an addict’s emotional, spiritual, and physical health. When addicts are active in their addiction though, this often gets overlooked – especially their physical health. In fact, there has been a recent noticeable increase in intravenous drug users with potentially fatal heart infections to prove this.
Increase of Heart Infections in IV Drug Users
For decades upon decades, the negative consequences from injecting drugs have been made clear. After all, IV drug users have an increased risk of spreading and contracting serious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Unfortunately, consequences are not enough to prevent a drug addict from using again. Health care providers have found that there is now an increase in the amount of patients coming in for care after developing a heart infection. It’s common for IV drug users, especially those who inject opioids. The bacterial heart infection that health officials see an increase in is called endocarditis. More specifically, endocarditis is an infection of the heart and heart valves – which is fatal when left untreated.
How are IV drug users contracting this infection? It’s from injecting the drugs. There is bacteria living on the skin, and any time an IV drug user administers the drug, they put themselves at risk of injecting that bacteria. Drug users do not typically engage in safe injection practices, such as cleaning the area of the skin, and they often use the same needle or share needles – all of which is extremely dangerous to their health and the health of others.
Endocarditis cases increased from 3,578 in 2000 to 8,530 in 2013. The rise in these cases for heart infections is likely due to the current drug epidemic, particularly the Opioid Epidemic. So not only do opioid users and IV drug users put themselves at risk for an overdose, but they also place themselves at risk for endocarditis, which can also be fatal. Fortunately, endocarditis can be treated with antibiotics, but if the condition has been left untreated, it can become more complicated. It is a condition that cannot go ignored. The longer the individual waits to get treatment for the infection, the greater the risk becomes for death.
Treatment for Drug Addiction
The reality of addiction is that there are consequences, but even life threatening health consequences are not enough to prevent the addict from using again. So, what is enough then? Because addiction is a threefold disease that impacts addicts mentally, physically, and spiritually, there needs to be treatment for each of these areas. Addiction is not the type of disease that you can “hope for the best” with. It is an illness that needs to be treated because it won’t go away on its own. When addiction is left untreated, addicts not only suffer financial, relationship, and legal consequences, but they also put their health at serious risk with overdoses, diseases, and potentially fatal infections like endocarditis. Treatment for drug addiction can begin with a medical detox and inpatient drug rehab, where the individual can detox off all the substances under medical supervision and then receive behavioral, individual, and group therapies to treat underlying issues that cause them to seek out substances in the first place.
Addiction should not be ignored. It does not need to end in death. Recovery is possible for any addict, but they need the proper treatment and support in order to get and maintain their recovery.
Are you feeling lost and hopeless about your addiction? The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs is dedicated to helping drug addicts and alcoholics recover from their addictions. At our safe medical detoxification center and inpatient rehabilitation center, you can get off the substances safely and receive critical treatment to begin the process of your recovery. You don’t have to stay stuck in active addiction. You can live a life without the crutch of substances. Call The Watershed today at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: drug addict, drug addiction, Drug Use, heart infection, iv drug use