Prescription Drug Overdose
Part I: Assessment
Each group will present a comprehensive picture of a health issue currently impacting a population in the US (for example, obesity – health issue, teens – target population in Texas)
After the instructor has approved the health issue and population, each group will research and assess the impact the health issue is having on the selected target population (any relevant epidemiologic/public health data, morbidity/mortality/prevalence statistics, access issues, etc)
Part II: Policy Development
Evaluate current policies/laws in place that are related to your health issue and identify any gaps in these policies/laws.
Outline recommended legislation processes needed to better address health issue amongst target population (what recommended policies need to be in place at what level (local, federal, state) to better meet the needs of this population and this health issue, what political figures and/or community leaders could assist with efforts and why would their assistance be instrumental in addressing this issue? What special interest groups could be of assistance and why)
Part III: Assurance
Discuss any new initiatives, services or public health programming that needs to be in place after your assessment and policy recommendations are made.
Discuss public health and other community resources/organizations that may spearhead these recommended efforts (what may some helpful collaborations between local community organizations? State agencies or federal agencies?)
What are some cultural considerations that need to be included? How will barriers to care/services be addressed?
Conclude your paper with summative recommendations/suggestions on the future of health issue amongst the target population
All parts and recommendations in the final paper must be supported by peer-reviewed, relevant and reliable outside sources. Each group should use and list at least 6 sources in their references.
Each group will act as a public health agency engaging in the 3 recommended functions of a public health agency: Assessment, policy development and assurance.
Prescription Drug Overdose
What is the Specific Public Health Issue?
Healthcare is meant to improve the patients’ quality of health and life. One of the common ways of improving the patients’ quality of health is through the prescription of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical drugs. Most of the drugs are given to the patients, especially as tablets on discharge or by purchasing over the counter, and this has propped a major problem of a prescription drugs overdose. According to CDC (2019), prescription drugs are the fifth-most abused substances, following some leading substances abused, such as alcohol and tobacco products. The overdose of the prescribed drugs among populations varies depending on the usage of the drugs. According to Hanson (2022), 43.3% of the people who overdose on drugs use them as painkillers, while 32.1% overdose on drugs for sedation or tranquilization. About 5.76% of the American population aged above 12 years are prescription drug abusers, with an 11.9% addiction prevalence to prescription drugs. The source notes that only 12.7% of the addicted population acknowledge their addiction, with 10% of the abusers overdosing on the medications to get high.
The most affected populations are teenagers. According to Poudel & Gautam (2017), more than 81.2% of the drug users got experience drug overdose before they reach 20 years, while 32% of the drug users were introduced to substance abuse at 15 years of age. This indicates that the risk of prescription drug overdose and abuse is highest among teenagers than the adults or elderly populations. The prescription drugs are introduced to the patients through the healthcare providers who may prescribe drugs such as opioids to the patients experiencing pain. Due to increased periods of pain management, the patient becomes addicted to using the medications at overdose levels. According to Hudgins et al. (2019), 55.7% of the teenagers misusing opioids obtain the drugs from friends or relatives, while 25.4% obtain them from the healthcare system, including prescriptions from pharmacists and healthcare providers. This indicates that society and the healthcare system play a key role in the increased prevalence of prescription drug overdose. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in collaboration with anti-substance use authorities such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), plays a key role in formulating and implementing key strategies to improve behavioral health and drug use in the country. The organizations develop policies, and fund drug abuse aversion programs, drug distribution regulation, and education programs. The agencies have a clear responsibility and ability to improve teenage prescription drug overdose in the United States by formulating control and recovery policies.
How does Prescription Drug Overdose affect Generally?
Prescription drug overdose generally affects particular individuals, the people around them, and the entire country in various dimensions of life. Prescription drugs are used for a purpose, and when the usage is prolonged, there is a high risk of diverting the purpose leading to increased levels of substance dependence. Substance addiction, especially for prescribed drugs such as opioids, is one of the drug-related epidemics affecting the United States and worldwide. Drug addiction contributes to other mental disorders and depression, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and increased aggression (Ngari, 2020). These disorders are generally associated with social problems since they push the affected people away from the general society and thus live in isolation. Treating the disorders is expensive, and this drains the families of the affected people economically in trying to control addiction, and other mental disorders contributed by prescription drug overdose. Werner (2022) notes that the cost of a 30-day rehabilitation program in the United States is an average of $14,000, which is very expensive for most families in the United States. The overdependence on the drug also leads to economic issues through poor productivity of the teenagers and misuse of essential funds in purchasing the drugs.
Apart from the mental disorders, physical health is affected. Some drugs contribute to hypotension, hypertension, amnesia, concentration issues, heart problems, and poor eating habits. These affect the health of the person and lead to high mortality rates in the teenage population. The country spends a lot of money on prescription drug abuse controls and health improvement programs. The more than $78.5 billion spent by the government of the United States in dealing with the outcomes of a prescription drug overdose is very high. The funds would have been used for quality development.
Policy Development Recommendations
Various agencies and organizations have been pushing for policies and amendments that can help control the abuse of prescription drugs by teenagers. The FDA maintains high standards in licensing the healthcare providers prescribing overdosed medications such as opioids. This policy requiring special education on opioid prescription and dependence control among physicians and ANPs for licensure plays an important role in ensuring that the prescriptions are done by the right people and not over the counter for the strong opioids or analgesics. Prescription limits a patient is a policy implemented by several states that reduce the supply of the drugs to the people allowed to take the particular medications. A limited prescription and supply period of 3-14 days reduces the opportunity for developing dependence on the medications. The key development in combating the prescription drug overdose in the United States is maintaining prescriptions for the teenagers under the control of parents and guardians in ensuring that they have reduced access to the medications and only within the established time limits of use. A monitoring and patient evaluation program for the patients being prescribed the medications introduce controls for the patients’ dependence behaviors (Lee et al., 2021). Healthcare providers will regularly assess the patient’s progress and determine the timely discontinuation of the medications.
Several resources that can enhance health are disposal to control the prescription drug overdose issue, especially among teenagers. SAMHSA has a national helpline that the affected individuals can use in seeking help concerning their health and can be directed on how to reduce the dependency issues associated with a prescription drug overdose. Society responders can also use the helpline to report various drug overdose cases for early intervention and control. The organization also has educational programs and materials accessible to teenagers for behavior change and healthy living.
The United States spends a big section of its budget controlling and treating prescription drug overdose health issues. High-level controls should be placed at all levels of governance, including the local, state, and federal levels. The controls would include ensuring the licensure protocols and standards are observed for the physicians and nurse practitioners. Quality monitoring programs for the patients’ progress should be initiated within the set limits of drug usage to avoid unnecessary usage continuity. The monitoring programs would help establish loaming substance dependency behaviors and thus cut the prescriptions before chronicity. These efforts should be inclusive of the parents and the teens’ guardians.
CDC. (2019). Understanding the Epidemic | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html
Hanson, M. (2022, April 7). Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics. NCDS. https://drugabusestatistics.org/prescription-drug-abuse-statistics/#:%7E:text=52%20million%20or%2018.4%25%20of,18.9%20million%20people%20misused%20prescriptions.
Hudgins, J. D., Porter, J. J., Monuteaux, M. C., & Bourgeois, F. T. (2019). Prescription opioid use and misuse among adolescents and young adults in the United States: A national survey study. PLOS Medicine, 16(11), e1002922. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002922
Ngari, E. (2020). Effects of Drug Addiction among The Youth In Kenyan Slums: A Case Study Of Kibera.
Poudel, A., & Gautam, S. (2017). Age of onset of substance use and psychosocial problems among individuals with substance use disorders. BMC Psychiatry, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-016-1191-0
Werner, T. (2022, March 23). How Much Does Drug and Alcohol Rehab Cost? Drug Rehab Options. https://rehabs.com/addiction/how-much-does-rehab-cost/