Med Clin North Am. 2022 Jan;106(1):187-200. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2021.08.006.
The opioid overdose epidemic is one of the leading causes of death in adults. Its devastating effects have included not only a burgeoning overdose crisis but also multiple converging infectious diseases epidemics. The use of both opioids and other substances through intravenous (IV) administration places individuals at increased risks of infectious diseases ranging from invasive bacterial and fungal infections to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and viral hepatitis. In 2012, there were 530,000 opioid use disorder (OUD)-related hospitalizations in the United States (US), with $700 million in costs associated with OUD-related infections. The scale of the crisis has continued to increase since that time, with hospitalizations for injection drug use-related infective endocarditis (IDU-IE) increasing by as much as 12-fold from 2010 to 2015. Deaths from IDU-IE alone are estimated to result in over 7,260,000 years of potential life lost over the next 10 years. There have been high-profile injection-related HIV outbreaks, and injection drug use (IDU) is now the most common risk factor for hepatitis C virus (HCV). As this epidemic continues to grow, clinicians in all aspects of medical care are increasingly confronted with infectious complications of IDU. This review will describe the pathogenesis, clinical syndromes, epidemiology, and models of treatment for common infectious complications among persons who inject drugs (PWIDs).