Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Kerry Nolte



Background: The opioid epidemic has been on the rise in the past decades, and with the rise of opioid use, infections related to substance use has also been on the rise. Infection trends in relation to gender currently have little evidence on how they affect each other.

Methods: Data was gathered from the New Hampshire Discharge Dataset on patients aged 18 to 85 who were admitted to any hospital with an infection diagnosis and concurrent substance use, from the years 2012 to 2019. This data was then graphed to analyze the trends.

Results: Infection rates had a consistent rise during the years 2012 to 2019. Males had higher rates than women, but there was a narrow gap depicted.

Discussion: There are currently few gender targeted interventions available for individuals seeking out treatment for substance use. Both genders may benefit from these interventions, yet women have experienced a more concerning increase, as it was believed that women utilize substance less than men. Implementing more targeted interventions for women can work to decrease the narrowing gap seen in the data. Increasing the availability of infection prevention methods will help to decrease the rise in infection rates seen throughout New Hampshire.

Conclusion: Increasing the availability of targeted interventions will work to decrease the prevalence of substance use, and infection rates related to substance use.