Legal issues on public healthcare policies

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Health Care

Document 1

The pharmaceutical organizations took advantage of the situation and started producing the opioids in large numbers. Although opioid is strong in treating chronic pain, its potential to cause harm, in the long run, is high. The opioid did not just land in the hands of the patients, but also in the hands of young people through black markets and their parents’ medicine cabinets. Examples of opioids include Heroine, Morphine, Methadone, Opium, Oxycodone and Tylox (Hersman, 2017). The rise of opioid misuse and deaths has attracted the attention of the law enforcement on the prescription of painkillers. New laws were introduced to ensure that painkillers were given to patients who truly needed them and they got only the amount that they required. The federal and state officials have sought for more funding from the government to help in treating patients with opioid addiction. In South Carolina, cases related to Opioid overdose have increased by 16. since 2015. The high rate of increase made the state to release a plan to prevent and treat prescription drug abuse. In 2014, more than 50 recommendations were drafted to address the problem of Opioid maltreatment systematically, and 45 have been acted on to date. The 50 recommendations were part of the strategy that South Carolina had put in place to deal with the Opioid overdose. The state has also decided to fund advertisements and sponsor television programs to increase public awareness on the effect of Opioid abuse. A new site which is accessible to all members of the public has also been created to provide information on how to acquire prescription drugs.

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The opioid epidemic is mainly caused by an overdose of prescription drugs, heroin, and fentanyl, a type of opioid that is more powerful than heroin which is illegally manufactured. The opioid is highly addictive, and a slight overdose might turn out to be fatal. The rising number of the overdose in the state of South Carolina has imposed a significant economic burden on the country due to the increased cost of curbing the drug abuse. However, the cost of combating the epidemic is not more quantitative than the cost of life loss and the earning potential lost (Weidman & Dunn, 2014). The federal agencies involved in curbing opioid abuse include Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Food and drugs administration (FDA), and Justice Department. Each agency has its own responsibility in helping to deal with the issue of opioid misuse.

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On March 2017, president trump also set up a President’s Commission to combat the opioid crisis and drug addiction. The commission was supposed to research about the scope and the efficiency of the strategy that the national government used to respond to Opioid abuse crisis and drug addiction. The commission was then supposed to make recommendations to the president on how to improve the strategy. Since President Trump took office, over 1 billion dollars have been allocated to fund strategies to deal with drug addiction and Opioid crisis. Excluding the additional funding, critics claim that president’s declaration will only make a small difference in the fight against an epidemic of this size. The rate illicit manufacture of Opioid has also increased by 20%. Fatal heroin overdose cases among the residents of South Carolina increased by 14% from the year 2015-2016.

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Researchers at the South Carolina University have strategized ways of addressing various aspects of the epidemic, putting their focus on Opioid addiction and prescription drug monitoring programs. The South Carolina government has also taken the initiative to ensure that patients suffering from legitimate acute and chronic pain and distress can access appropriate opioid medications with proper prescriptions. South Carolina Department responsible for Environmental Control and Health and all healthcare providers in the state and looking for ways to encourage more responsible approach when prescribing opioids to patients. The state would also oversee the addiction specialists by requiring them to be approved by the department of labor, licensing and regulation. Another bill was to allow the state officials to add more drugs to the list of addictive drugs without seeking for approval from the general assembly.

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A bill that requires all opioids prescribed in South Carolina to be reported to the state monitoring program was signed into law by Governor Henry McMaster. This law was pushed for by legislation lawmakers in the year 2017 to deal with the opioid and heroin epidemic. The bill was meant to slow the growth of the problem, which is rooted in prescription painkiller drug abuse. Before the law was enforced, reporting and checking SCRIPTS was voluntary, but now South Carolina joins 26 other started which have already made reporting mandatory. The congress lawmakers sent 1. million dollars to McMaster for drug treatment. The state was also given a grant of 6. million dollars from SAMHSA to assist it in treatment costs, training, outreach, recovery and better integration of SCRIPTS with electronic medical records. In the year 2016, the South Carolina EMS personnel administered naloxone approximately 6500 times, which was a significant increase compared to 4600 times in 2015.

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South Carolina also has a program to train law enforcement officers who oversee safe use of naloxone. law enforcement officers have successfully completed the training, and 87 LEON saves have been documented so far. South Carolina also has a treatment center known as Waypoint Recovery Center which provides inpatient and outpatient treatment that addresses addiction as a chronic illness, to promote a sustainable recovery. Despite the efficiency of naloxone, there are critics who claim that the drug is not affordable to everyone and that its use may even encourage opioid abuse. The opioid dependence maintenance therapy takes about 12 – 14 weeks (White & Carl, 2011). People addicted to opioid abuse find it difficult to follow the existing pharmacological treatments designed to reduce or eliminate opioid use. In 2017, FDA approved and injection for opioid use disorder which was supposed to be administered once a month.

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Pharmaceutical manufacturers have sought ways to reduce the addictive nature and the potential for abuse of opioids. According to CDC, patients who use painkillers for longer periods are likely to be addicted to them. The physicians are also displeased with the administrative burden that CDC prescription guidelines have imposed on them. The physicians claim that the prescription guidelines are time-consuming (and thus costly) and they do not consider the impact on applicable quality and quantity metrics. For these reasons, the adoption of the guidelines is minimal. CVS has also been on the front line to end the prescription drug abuse epidemic. Being the largest U. Pharmacies are required to submit their PDMD data to the state database on a daily basis to ensure that all databases are accurate and encourage their use by minimizing the lag time between updates.

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Multiple national pharmacy organizations also have called for pharmacists to play a role in the opioid crisis. Pharmacists possess the knowledge and skill needed to reduce the negative effects of substance abuse in the society. The American Pharmacist Association (APhA) focuses on the role of pharmacists in the community setting, on control of substances and other medication which possess the potential for misuse and abuse (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). To address the issue of opioid overdose epidemic, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has encouraged federal officials to support agendas that include pharmacologists in increasing contact with opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone. These agencies include the Centers for Drug Abuse Control and Prevention, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Office of the Surgeon General, and Food and Drug Administration.

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However, not of these agencies have enough influence when it comes to deciding the amount set aside for addiction services. Significant cuts have been proposed for Medicaid, the insurance company with the largest program covering opioid addiction treatment, which further hinders access to substance abuse treatment. The federal government has also failed to take the lead in supporting the testing of new ways to deal with this widespread disease. The president’s Commission on fighting Opioid Drug Addiction and the Opioid Epidemic Crisis came up with more than 60 endorsements that are important and suitable, but the duty to enforce them is under the many federal organizations that the advancement is likely to be insignificant. It is hard to estimate the lost productivity and the incarceration costs. The social costs of associated offending, of the cost of reduces well-being among offenders and their families, are also hard to estimate but they are likely to be large.

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Feasible and cost-effective interventions can mitigate the economic harms related to opioid misuse. The decision to start opioid therapy to treat chronic pain should be a joint decision made by both the patient and the prescriber. This decision may extend another party if the patient has a caretaker. The strategy also targets to increase distribution and the availability of overdose-reversing drugs to ensure a quick response to overdose cases which would reduce fatality. The federal government has also strengthened the public health data collection and reporting to improve the timeliness of data in response to patient’s information about painkiller prescription of multiple doctors. The government has also set aside resources to support cutting-edge research that improves understanding of pain treatment and addiction. Funding has been provided to increase access to naloxone and engage in overdose prevention activities.

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In conclusion, it is challenging in estimating the number of Americans who have ever misused prescription drugs. Opioid abuse has had economic effects too. It is estimated that opioid abuse gives the country an economic burden of 78. billion dollars. However, critics claim that the efforts to fight against opioid abuse and addiction are not sufficient. The government needs to add more funds and put the strategy under a common authority for effective results. Pain and motives for use among non‐treatment seeking individuals with prescription opioid dependence. The American Journal on Addictions, 22(5), 486-491 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Opioid Overdose (2017). Retrieved from: www. cdc. gov/drugoverdose/index. whitehouse. gov/sites/whitehouse. gov/files/images/Final_Report_Draft. P 5 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. the non-medical use of prescription drugs: Policy direction issues.

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JAMA internal medicine. White Alan G. Howard G. Birnbaum, & Carl L. Roland.

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