Druglink article 2014 – 1993: Hepatitis C by Tom Waller and Roger Holmes

While all the attention was justifiably focussed on the preventing the spread of HIV, another BBV among injecting drug users was gaining ground that either went unnoticed – or as Dr Waller believed, was known about, but ignored because the public health implications of actually finding out the scale of the problem were too great.

The latest report (2013) from the Health Protection Agency on infections among people who inject drugs clearly shows how serious the situation remains. While there are fewer heroin injectors, injecting of other drugs such as performance-enhancing drugs and stimulant drugs such as mephedrone are on the increase – as are all the indicators for Hep C-related deaths, first hospital admissions and first registration for liver transplants.

The public health message is clear; as the report says, “Services to prevent infections among people who inject either psychoactive drugs or image and performance-enhancing drugs need to be maintained and be responsive to any changes in drug use”.

1993: Hepatitis C (PDF)