Background Injection drug use has far-reaching social, economic, and health consequences. Serious bacterial infections, including skin/soft tissue infections, osteomyelitis, bacteremia, and endocarditis, are particularly morbid and mortal consequences of injection drug use. Methods We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort analysis of hospitalizations among patients with a diagnosis code for substance use and a serious bacterial infection during the same hospital admission using Oregon Hospital Discharge Data. We examined trends in hospitalizations and costs of hospitalizations attributable to injection drug use-related serious bacterial infections from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2018. Results From 2008 to 2018, Oregon hospital discharge data included 4,084,743 hospitalizations among 2,090,359 patients. During the study period, hospitalizations for injection drug userelated serious bacterial infection increased from 980 to 6,265 per year, or from 0.26% to 1.68% of all hospitalizations (P<0.001). The number of unique patients with an injection drug use-related serious bacterial infection increased from 839 to 5,055, or from 2.52% to 8.46% of all patients (P<0.001). While hospitalizations for all injection drug use-related serious bacterial infections increased over the study period, bacteremia/sepsis hospitalizations rose most rapidly with an 18-fold increase. Opioid use diagnoses accounted for the largest percentage of hospitalizations for injection drug use-related serious bacterial infections, but hospitalizations for amphetamine-type stimulant-related serious bacterial infections rose most rapidly with a 15-fold increase. People living with HIV and HCV experienced increases in hospitalizations for injection drug use-related serious bacterial infection during the study period. Overall, the total cost of hospitalizations for injection drug use-related serious bacterial infections increased from $16,305,129 in 2008 to $150,879,237 in 2018 (P<0.001). Conclusions In Oregon, hospitalizations for injection drug use-related serious bacterial infections increased dramatically and exacted a substantial cost on the health care system from 2008 to 2018. This increase in hospitalizations represents an opportunity to initiate substance use disorder treatment and harm reduction services to improve outcomes for people who inject drugs.
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