Starting Addiction Care with Injection Drug-Infected Patients

Kevin Kunzmann

Kevin Kunzmann is the managing editor for Contagion, as well as its sister publication HCPLive. Prior to joining parent company MJH Life Sciences in 2017, he worked as a health care and government reporter for The Pocono Record, and as a freelance writer for NJ Advance Media, The Express-Times, The Daily Journal, and more. He graduated from Rowan University with a degree in journalism in 2015. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, running his dog, and complaining about the Mets. Follow him on Twitter @NotADoctorKevin or email him at [email protected]

A firsthand look into a Kentucky program that's initiated opioid use disorder care in recurring HIV, hepatitis C patients.

A referral system for opioid use disorder (OUD) borne out of injection drug use-associated infection (IDU-AI) cases may provide a streamlined approach from infectious disease to addiction care in patients burdened with addiction.

New data from a University of Kentucky-based multi-disciplinary referral system presented at IDWeek 2020 show an enrollment rate of more than 60% of eligible patients with OUD who originally presented with IDU-AI cases for medication-assisted treatment of their addiction at a referred care center.

The program—which largely initiates OUD care for patients positive for HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), endocarditis, or a combination of viruses—enrolled 54 patients to receive a variety of treatment options including medication-assisted treatment, naloxone, relapse prevention services, peer support care, self-help groups, and even transportation aid.

In an interview with Contagion® during IDWeek, Sarah Blevins, PharmD, an HIV Clinical Pharmacist with University of Kentucky, discussed the significant regional need for OUD care.

“It’s one of those things where we see a lot of the same people over and over on the inpatient side, increased hepatitis C cases and HIV cases associated with injection drug use on the outpatient side,” Blevins said.

A hallmark of infectious disease care is focus on source control, Blevins explained. This ongoing and program and assessment seek to accomplish just that.

Watch the full interview with Blevins in the video above.

The poster, “A Descriptive Analysis of a Multi-disciplinary Approach to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Within an Infectious Diseases Clinic,” was presented at IDWeek 2020.