How Drug Abuse Increases Risk of HIV/AIDS

Ever since the first outbreak of HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s, the epidemic has been linked with drug abuse and addiction. Since HIV is a blood-borne disease, sharing needles when injecting drugs is known to be a leading cause of infection. Less well known is the fact that drug abuse can lead to risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, another leading cause of HIV is transmission. Drug abuse can affect judgment and lower inhibitions, causing drug abusers to engage in impulsive and risky behaviors including unprotected sex with multiple partners. People who are addicted to drugs may also agree to risky sex in exchange for drugs or money and may be unable to insist on using condom under the circumstances. The CDC estimates that 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV. About one in five of these people are unaware that they have the infection and may not be taking precautions against spreading it. Nearly one in four cases of AIDS originates with intravenous drug use. Infected blood…

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Prescription Painkillers Keep Injured Workers Off the Job Longer

Over the past decade, insurance companies that compensate workers who are injured on the job have faced growing payments to workers who were given prescription painkillers for routine injuries. The New York Times reports that insurers spend $1.4 billion per year on payouts for opioid painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. Besides paying for prescription painkillers, insurers are making additional disability payments to workers who are delayed or unable to return to work after being treated with strong painkillers. A 2008 study of workman compensation claims in California found that injured workers who took high dosages of prescription painkillers due to simple injuries like back strains stayed out of work three times longer than workers with similar injuries who were prescribed less medication. A 2010 study conducted by insurer Accident Fund Holdings found that workplace injuries cost an insurer nine times as much when OxyContin or other narcotic painkillers are part of the treatment. Between 2001 and 2008, the percentage of painkillers among all drugs prescribed for workers' injuries…

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