Infections Resulting from Narcotic Addiction

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Infections Resulting from Narcotic Addiction
Report of 702 Cases
Washington, D.C.

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UNTIL 1943 the problem of narcoticaddiction at the Gallinger Municipal Hospital was almost exclusively the concern of the psychiatrists. Occasionally
a narcotic addict was seen in the medical or surgical division of the hospital, having been admitted because of an illness unrelated to his addiction. All other patients recognized as addicts were admitted to the psychiatric division. Some came to the hospital with the hope of overcoming their
habit. The majority were brought to the hospital as a result of police action. Since 1943, however, there has been a remarkable change, for as many narcotic addicts have been admitted directly to the medical or surgical services as to the psychiatric service. This change is the result of the high incidence of complications immediately related to the drug habit. The complications have been the prime concern in hospitalizing these patients.
Our purpose is to discuss the various medical and surgical complications resulting from addiction to heroin and morphine.
These have included abscesses of the skin, thrombophlebitis usually with pulmonary infarction, septicemia, acute bacterial endocarditis,

tetanus and malaria