Creating a healthcare policy: the opioid epidemic
I have decided my policy will zero in on the monitoring of how and when opioids are prescribed. My policy will state that non pharmacological strategies and techniques then non opioid medications must be utilized and attempted in the treatment of pain before opioids can be prescribed by a provider.
Identify your selected healthcare policy priority and discuss the rationale for your selection. Describe the model of policy making that you feel would be best applied to your policy issue and the rationale for selecting this model.
Hello Dr. Saucier and class,
The current health care system that dictates and shapes the way care is provided to our population has several flaws and gaps that leave room for improvement. There are without doubt positives found, especially in reference to the amazing medical advancements in technologies and diagnostics that have led to quicker diagnosis and more thorough, less invasive treatments for patients. Though there are several public health issues that spark my interest and need attention when it comes to healthcare policy I have chosen to focus on the prominence of and need for improved education and prevention of prescription drug overdoses. In the United States every single day 40 people die from narcotic prescription drug overdoses making this catastrophic issue the fastest growing drug problem in our country and is well known as the opioid epidemic (CDC, 2012). There has been research showing a lack of knowledge regarding opioid or narcotic prescription drug use in the nursing profession. Shockingly only 25% of nurses answered 50% of the questions asked in a study regarding pain management, risk of addiction and overdose, respiratory depression, and proper disposal of narcotic/opioid medications (Costello & Thompson, 2015).
Clearly the opioid epidemic and abuse of prescription drugs needs to be addressed and policies need to be placed. I have had personal losses due to opioid overdose. Furthermore, I have taken care of several patients with prescription drug use addiction or overdose. There have been several instances where nurses or other health care providers refer to certain patients as “drug seekers” and lack any empathy or sensitivity in the care of these patients. I do not believe this is fair treatment and creates a bias against the patients struggling with an addiction that our very system easily could have created. Therefore, the need for educational policies, restrictions regarding the prescribing of certain medications, and checks and balances regarding the prevention of this devastating issue need to be made a priority.
There are two policy making models that could be applied to this particular policy issue. The rational-approach model and the incrementalism model could both be effectively applied to the issue of prescription drug overdose. As discussed previously in this post prescription drug abuse and overdose is far reaching and effects several individuals; not only those suffering and their families but the nursing profession and other providers that treat and care for these people. Because prescription drug issues reach a large scope of individuals and institutions the rational-approach model would be appropriate. However, the prevalence and severity of this issue calls for quick and efficient change which does not align with the rational-approach model. The incrementalism model would be appropriate for this issue because it would allow the plethora of issues surrounding prescription drug overdose to be broken down into layers and facets. For example looking at the laws governing and possibly creating this epidemic, the mental health of patients who do overdose, the opinions and biases of healthcare providers, and the lacking education regarding this important issue. All in all, I think these two models would both be useful and effective in creating a policy that will improve the education and prevention of prescription medication overdoses and deaths; therefore, making our country and patient population safer and healthier. I look forward to reading everyone’s topics of interest this week!
CDC grand rounds: prescription drug overdoses – a U.S. epidemic. (2012). MMWR. Morbidity And Mortality Weekly Report, 61(1), 10-13.
Costello, M., & Thompson, S. (2015). Preventing opioid misuse and potential abuse: the nurse’s role in patient education. Pain Management Nursing, 16(4), 515-519.
Hi Dr. Saucier,
Thank you for your question. I have had a lot of ideas and feel very strongly about the overuse and prescribing of opioid medications. Therefore, my initial post was more of a brainstorm and I was having a difficult time zeroing in on one facet of this complex issue. After more research I have decided my policy will zero in on the monitoring of how and when opioids are prescribed. My policy will state that non pharmacological strategies and techniques then non opioid medications must be utilized and attempted in the treatment of pain before opioids can be prescribed by a provider. I realize this is a lofty policy to try to implement but I really believe it would do a lot of good for not only the state of Florida but the country as a whole. Governor Rick Scott has already made leaps and bounds regarding the tragedies inflicted on Floridians from the opioid epidemic and has been working hard to implement legislation that protects the community from the effects of opioid abuse. Though I would love to be able to get in touch with Governor Scott, to be more realistic I have reached out to a Senator that is closely involved with the opioid legislation passed by Governor Scott, Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto. I feel the Senator has a vast knowledge base regarding this particular topic and if she is unable to endorse my policy I believe she will be able to get me in touch with the people who can. Please let me know if you think I am going in the correct direction or if I should change my game plan. I really appreciate your input and guidance. Thank you!