Jan. 17, 2023 – With drug deaths hovering at an all-time high and endocarditis cases among drug users up nearly tenfold in the last decade, physicians, researchers, and health officials have begun to confront the problem with more urgency. In particular, doctors are coming to terms with a basic reality: Their hospitals often have few protocols for treating endocarditis patients who use opioids and the withdrawal they’ll likely experience upon admission. “We’re taking steps in the right direction, but we need to do much more,” said Daniel DeSimone, an infectious diseases specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. “We need to do better with regard to managing opioid withdrawal in the hospital.” In areas with high rates of injection drug use, infectious disease outbreaks are nothing new. In the past decade alone, the U.S. has seen outbreaks of HIV and hepatitis C associated with increased opioid use.


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