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December 21, 2015

Study: N.J. heroin epidemic may be leading to rise in hepatitis C

Public health officials worry an HIV hike could be on the horizon

A recent study has found a possible link between New Jersey's heroin epidemic and a rise in hepatitis C diagnoses, NewsWorks reports.

The findings are part of a 10-month study by Dr. Ronald Nahass, an infectious diseases specialist, and a team of psychiatrists at the Princeton Housea New Jersey addiction treatment center. 

Related Article: A heroin victim's warning to the world

According to the study, of the more than 850 heroin users admitted to Princeton House's inpatient facility, 44 percent tested positive for hepatitis C, and almost two-thirds were younger than age 35.

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The findings are part of a study by Dr. Ronald Nahass, an infectious diseases specialist, and a team of psychiatrists at the Princeton Housea New Jersey addiction treatment center. (National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project/Princeton House)

The authors point out a notable piece of the study findings is that none of the patient participants who tested positive for hepatitis C also tested positive for HIV.

But state health officials still worry over the potential risk since nearly "70 percent of addicts in New Jersey are intravenous users," study co-author Dr. Neal Schofield, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Princeton House Behavioral Health, told NewsWorks.

Read the full NewsWorks report here.


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