Measures to curb Opioid-related death cases

Introduction

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Opioid-related deaths stood at 47,600 for the year 2017 hence translates to about 130 deaths from opioid-related overdose daily (“What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, 2019).  Opioid-related deaths leave behind more orphans than car accidents or gun-related violence. The Opioid epidemic continues to grow at a very alarming rate. In 2017, the United States Department of Health & Human Services declared a public health emergency and announced a 5-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis (“What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, 2019). Opioids are a class of drugs that act on the brain to give a variety of effects, including pain relief. Opioids range from prescription medications to street drugs such as heroin. Despite their high risk of addiction and overdose, opioids are commonly used for recreational purposes. At this alarming rate, the government needs to come up with a long-lasting solution to this problem. This op-ed has 846 words (“What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, 2019).

 Proposed Legislation for the Opinion Editorial

The “Workforce Act of 2019” is a proposed bill aimed at distributing additional residency positions to help combat the opioid crisis. The bills’ core aim is the allocation of a sufficient number of residents who will specifically deal with opioid-related cases. With more residents in the hospitals, opioid-related treatment and help will easily be accessible and administered. More so, with additional residency positions, hospitals that did not offer opioid-related treatment due to lack of residents will start doing so hence reaching out to more people.

The Paper’s audience

The Opioid epidemic is a health problem as well as a social scourge. Most of us have come across an opioid addict or user, whether a family member, friend or neighbor at some point. Hence, this crisis affects us, whether directly or indirectly. The main treatment for prescription opioid addiction is medication-assisted treatment (MAT) (“What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, 2019). The type of treatment includes medicines, counseling, and support from family and friends. As a community, we have to guide and help opioid addicts and abusers seek medical intervention. We are also entailed with the responsibility of providing them with a peaceful environment during rehabilitation, free from stigmatization. Given that opioid-related cases are a national disaster, this op-ed should be printed in the People’s Daily newspaper for more coverage.

Supporting evidence

            Opioid-related deaths are among the leading causes of death in the United States.  Fatal prescription drug overdoses have been described as an epidemic by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prescription opioids account for approximately 70% of fatal prescription drug overdoses (Florence, 2016). The statistics above warrant immediate remedies to prevent further fatalities.

Credentials and Credibility

            Being an editor in a medical journal, cases of opioid-related deaths have had a lot of highlights in the past few years. Not only are these cases saddening but also leave behind a lot of misery and depression in the affected families. Thus, I deem this as the perfect moment to address this national disaster. The government needs to address this calamity as soon as possible, or else our society is doomed.

Importance of the topic to the audience

The opioid crisis is a national disaster that requires immediate remedies. Many lives are lost and ruined from overdoses and addiction to these drugs. The importance of this topic is that it addresses one of the leading causes of deaths in the United States, as well as measures being put in place to curb it. According to the bill “Opioid Workforce Act of 2019,”, the government should increase the number of residency positions in hospitals. As such, it is an excellent way and so far the best way of curbing the opioid crisis. As a society, we believe that the best medical treatment comes from professional health personnel. With more residents in hospitals, access to opioid-related programs will be easier and more convenient.

Given that opioid programs and centers are numbered, most willing patients do not have access to the treatment they need. Additionally, the “Opioid Workforce Act of 2019” bill aims at regulating the number of residents assigned to Primary and Non-Primary Care facilities. Hospitals that do not meet the set requirements will have the number of residents assigned reduced. Such a move will help keep the residents on toes, working hard to be retained at the hospitals, hence ensuring that patients receive the best treatment while at the facilities. With improved services, opioid cases will be easily monitored and treated.

Conclusion

The opioid epidemic is a national disaster that requires an immediate solution. The remedy to this calamity should be long term to prevent a further rise in opioid-related deaths. The “Opioid Workforce Act of 2019” bill is key to this crisis. More residents in hospitals mean fewer wrongly prescribed medications, which ultimately lead to addiction or overdoses that eventually lead to death.

Additionally, treatment strategies, for example, early recognition of unusual drug-related behaviors through prescription drug–monitoring programs; and access to effective addiction treatment programs will help curb this crisis (Lecce, 2015). It is time we showed the affected people that all is not lost. Surely, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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References

Florence, C., Luo, F., Xu, L., & Zhou, C. (2016). The economic burden of prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence in the United States, 2013. Medical care54(10), 901.

H.R.2439 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): Opioid Workforce Act of 2019. (2019, May 2). Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2439

Leece, P., Orkin, A. M., & Kahan, M. (2015). Tamper-resistant drugs cannot solve the opioid crisis. CMAJ187(10), 717-718.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (2017, December 4). What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic? Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html