Louisville-based physicians have observed a spike in osteomyelitis cases among heroin and other IV drug users, as mentioned by Louisville news broadcast site WDRB.com.
If it is left untreated osteomyelitis can eat away bone and in extreme cases can cause paralysis.
It usually starts in the disc, which acts like the shock-absorber of the spine and then further spreads to the bones of the spine says Jeffrey Gum, MD, a surgeon at Louisville-based Norton’s Leatherman Spine Center.
Typically, in the past, patients suffering from osteomyelitis were older patients with a lot of medical problems. Dr. Gum shared with the WDRB.com that surgeons are seeing osteomyelitis among heroin users and people who use IV drugs. Whenever someone uses an injectable drug, they shoot bacteria directly into their bloodstream.
In 2012, spine specialists at Norton’s Leatherman Spine Center saw only five patients with serious spine infections. But, in 2016, they witnessed more than 100 patients with them.
Along with these issues, the challenge of drug abuse also needs to be tackled. Substance abuse engagement solutions and substance abuse software solutions play a major role in combating this challenge.