Associations between Opioid-~Related Hospitalizations and Intravenous Drug Users

Jacklynn De Leon


The opioid epidemic has led to a chain reaction of public health concerns, including an increase in heroin usage, injection drug abuse, incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV), and HIV transmission. There have been few population-based studies investigating the clinical and socio- demographic data associated with opioid use in Nevada (Feng et al., 2016; Frank, 2000) and few studies investigating the intravenous drug user (IDU) population in Clark County. On February 2017, Clark County’s first syringe exchange program (SEP) opened its doors to the IDU population. This study provides an updated analysis of opioid-related injuries within Nevada and provides a first-time analysis of the IDU population within Clark County. According to the 2017 Center of Health Information Analysis (CHIA), there were 9,064 opioid-related injuries in the state of Nevada. The most common comorbidities associated with opioid-related injuries were chronic bodily pains (50.2%), malnutrition (47.3%), nicotine dependence (44.7%), affective disorders (32.4%), and hypertension (28.8%). There was a higher proportion of 18-35 year olds who used SEPs as compared to 18-35 year olds who used hospitals. One Clark County zip code had both high frequencies for opioid-related hospitalizations and injection drug use. In order to implement interventions and programs to battle the opioid epidemic and the consequent public health effects, we must first understand the associations between opioid-related hospitalizations and the IDU population.