Trends in Injection Opioid Use and Bloodborne Pathogen Related Diseases in New Jersey


When the opioid epidemic began in the early 1990s, pills such as oxycodone were the primary means of abuse. Beginning in 2010, injection use of, first, heroin and then synthetic opioids dramatically increased, which led the number of overdose deaths involving opioids to increase fivefold between 1999 and 2016.1 It would be expected that BBP rates would rise with this increase in injection use, and, nationally, there has been a rise in acute hepatitis C (HCV) rates, although the other two main BBPs, acute hepatitis B (HBV) and acute human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have been flat and declining, respectively.2,3 In this study, we compared New Jersey's reported incidence of these three BBPs (acute HBV, acute HCV, and HIV) over five years (2013-2017) with syndromic surveillance data for opioid use over the same time period in order to test the hypothesis that emergency department (ED) visits for opioid use could be used as a predictor of BBP infection.

Objective: To utilize New Jersey's syndromic surveillance data in the study and comparison of trends in injection opioid use and infection with selected bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) over the years 2013-2017.

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Event/Publication Date: 
January, 2019

June 18, 2019

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