EEN INTERLANDIJENEEN INTERLANDIEN INTERLANDI
By Jeneen Interlandi Photographs by Damon Winter
Ms. Interlandi is a member of the editorial board. Mr. Winter is a staff photographer on assignment in Opinion Dec. 13, 2023 NY Times
Humanize Drug Users
Raina Mcmahan, a 42-year-old recovery coach, spent roughly half her life seeking treatment for her own opioid use disorder.
She tried detoxing multiple times at different inpatient facilities, but those programs usually discharged her after a week or two without any follow-up care.
She paid one doctor $500 to treat her with buprenorphine, a medication that helps reduce opioid cravings, but he administered that medication improperly. When she got sick, he told her she was allergic — a falsehood she believed for years.
She tried methadone, another medication used to treat opioid addiction, but the hurdles proved insurmountable. The only clinic that had space for her was two hours away by subway, required her to report in person every day and stopped serving patients at 10 a.m. sharp. “If you got there at 10:01, they would shut the window in your face,” she told me recently. When that happened, she would have to either go without medication for the day and wind up in withdrawal or use street drugs and risk a positive urine test (which could get her expelled from the program) or an accidental overdose (which could kill her).
TO CONTINUE READING: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/12/13/opinion/addiction-policy-treatment-opioid.html?campaign_id=2&emc=edit_th_20231217&instance_id=110412&nl
Thousands die from hepatitis C every year, even though we have a nearly foolproof cure. A new plan would change that.
By Jonathan Cohn Nov 26, 2023, 08:00 AM EST |Updated Nov 26, 2023 HUFF POST
Dying from hepatitis C is a notoriously miserable way to go.
The virus attacks your liver ― in many cases, destroying its ability to make proteins and filter blood. You might not notice at first, because it can inflict damage gradually and “silently” until finally you start to feel symptoms that could include fatigue, jaundice, mental disorientation, severe itching and joint pain. Your belly could fill up with so much fluid that doctors have to drain it, while gastrointestinal difficulties might have you vomiting up blood.
This could go on for months or years, and eventually your liver could fail completely. A transplant might save you, but only if you can get one, and only if it works.
Hepatitis C kills thousands of Americans every year, making it the nation’s deadliest bloodborne infectious disease. And it doesn’t have to be this way.
There’s a cure for hepatitis C that works in almost all cases ― an antiviral medication that’s been around for a decade, needs to be taken for just two or three months, and has relatively mild side effects. But lots of Americans diagnosed with the disease aren’t getting the drug because it’s too expensive, or they’re getting it only after the virus has already done severe damage. Takeup is worst among low-income groups and uninsured people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although even among the privately insured, only about one-third have initiated treatment within a year of testing positive.
TO CONTINUE READING: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/biden-plan-eliminate-hepatitis-c_n_655e1590e4b0c0333bee58ac