Hepatitis C rates exploding among suburban N.J. heroin users, study finds

Researchers recently confirmed what many in the medical and drug treatment community had feared: Rates of Hepatitis C are skyrocketing among New Jersey's suburban heroin users, particularly among the young.

A study that tested 861 suburban heroin users admitted to Princeton House, an inpatient treatment center, found that 44 percent tested positive for Hepatitis C, a potentially fatal but treatable disease that affects the liver. Of those, nearly two-thirds were under the age of 35.

"It's crazy. I'm not sure I even expected to see the number that high," said Ronald Nahass, an infectious disease specialist with ID Care, who conducted the study with researchers from Princeton House. "On the other hand, I don't know that I'm terribly surprised. We've noticed this happening, and it really wasn't being recognized, which is really upsetting me, frankly."

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