Hepatitis C and Addiction

Hepatitis C screening and treatment at Avenues Recovery.

Heal your mind, grow in your recovery, and take care of your physical wellness
The single biggest risk factor today for contracting Hepatitis C (HCV)  is sharing needles and syringes.
Therefore, the disease will most commonly occur when people who struggle with addiction use drugs via injection. According to the most recent data, a staggering 70% – to 90% of people who self- inject drugs will eventually contract Hepatitis C.
Often, Hep C can go undetected. When untreated, HCV can become a chronic and lifelong condition.
In an addiction rehab program like Avenues recovery, which  values a holistic approach to substance use treatment, taking steps to screen incoming clients for HCV automatically becomes part of the equation.
Addressing each element of mind, body, and soul is a core part of our addiction treatment philosophy. and Hep C treatment is one way that the holistic substance use treatment commitment is displayed in Avenues programming.

Learn more about Hepatitis and its connection to substance use disorder here:

Why treating Hepatitis C is an important part of the substance use treatment program at Avenues

  1. The disease of addiction takes a toll on the user both physically and mentally. It is our obligation to help our clients fully heal in every way we possibly can.
  2. Sustaining the growth made during addiction rehab is our overarching goal. Feeling good physically allows clients to focus on the most important matter at hand: achieving lasting sobriety.
  3. Every victory empowers our clients to keep moving forward, while in treatment and beyond. Overcoming this illness can be celebrated as a win that motivates further recovery.
  4. There are growing data points  showing that clients who underwent the HCV treatment regimen were a good deal more likely to avoid relapse.
  5. Treating addiction and HCV at the same location helps clients adhere to the medication and complete it successfully.

Treating HCV has never been easier!
Here is where the good news gets better. Curing Hepatitis C used to be a big deal. The methods of treatment were either invasive or debilitating. Sometimes,it was both. In short, it was a hard deal.

Epclusa: The HCV wonder drug
But that’s the thing with science. We keep getting better at what we do and treating this virus is no different. Nowadays, we have a  medication called Epclusa, a direct acting antiviral medication, taken orally and painlessly.  It was developed by a pharmaceutical company called Gilead. With an over 90 percent success rate, and an uncomplicated regimen that consists of just one pill every day,  it has completely changed the game.

More good news!
Epclusa is available to you at no charge! It is covered by nearly every insurance, including Medicaid.
And at Avenues, we are maximizing this progress for your benefit!
Hepatitis C treatment is folded into your addiction treatment program at Avenues.
With the leadership of our medical team, a hepatitis C screening and treatment program has been built seamlessly into our program.
It’s so painless and easy that you will barely notice it. It happens in just a few easy steps.

  1. When you or a loved one is admitted to Avenues, an expert physician or nurse will do a blood draw as part of your wellness exam.
  2. Once your bloodwork comes back (generally in about a week’s time) and in the event that the results for HCV were positive, an Avenues medical professional will provide you with comprehensive education about the disease, its effects, and how you can get better. You will watch a short and clear video to further supplement your knowledge. Your attending nurse will answer all of your questions and concerns.
  3. The medication will be ordered right away, and your treatment regimen will begin as soon as it arrives. The Epclusa regimen consists of just one pill a day for only three months!
  4. Our medical team will provide you with the pill before bedtime. Side effects such as nausea or headaches are possible but very mild. Taking it right before you go to sleep will, in many cases, allow you to sleep through these side effects.
  5. After 3 months, you will receive one more blood draw to ascertain that the Epclusa has done its job, and you are HCV free! (In the event that this is after you already have been discharged, we will work with your medical provider and ensure that the follow-up takes place in a convenient manner)

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Brooke Abner,

Motivational Coach