Hepatitis increasingly goes hand in hand with heroin abuse
MACHIAS, Maine - Public health agencies and drug treatment centers nationwide are scrambling to catch up with a dramatic rise in hepatitis C they believe stems, at least in part, from growing heroin use.
Hepatitis C affects about 3 million Americans. The number of acute cases grew by more than 270 percent from 2009 to 2013.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the number of people using heroin rose nearly 150 percent from 2007 to 2013.
New treatments for hepatitis C are making headlines because of their popularity and high price.
Harvoni is the new leading drug for the disease and costs more than $1,300 per pill. The number of prescriptions filled for hepatitis C drugs more than doubled to a monthly average of 48,000 during the early part of 2015.