The Policy Process: Evaluation, Analysis, and Revision
April 23, 2018
The Policy Process: Evaluation, Analysis, and Revision
According to Hawk, Vaca, and D’Onofrio study, Opioid abuse and overdose have been one of the largest threats to the public health as the access to its prescription has led to the epidemic. It has proved to be the fatal drug calamity in the US history. This epidemic has sought attention from health care professional and the policymakers due to the countless lives that it has affected. There have been various strides taken as the initiatives to decrease the opioid overdose deaths that focus on the primary prevention, access to the right treatment and harm reduction strategies.
However, inadequate policy action to terminate the drug epidemic has not brought a much-anticipated solution as much of the efforts has been focused on the reduction of the prescribed painkillers. There have been efforts by the federal government on stopping the smuggling of heroin and other hard drugs into the country soil but the efforts so far have not brought any changes. The most significant policy that passed as the bill by the Congress shows that the crisis has been set up $1 billion for drug addiction but over the recent years it has proved to be costly (Florence et al., 2016). Opioid addiction is a complex crisis that needs a working policy since those that were meant to fight it only made the case worse.
The policy for the prevention of the Opioid addiction crisis has the evaluation stage that sought the solutions through looking the addiction extensively, and we do not just stop this epidemic but prevent the next one that can emanate from this crisis. The opioid epidemic is the story of two threats to the stock and flow of the drugs that make the two objectives of this policy. The plan for policy needs to evaluate the current stock for the drug users who are already addicted. It is the group that incorporates all the people in the society who are already addicted and needs the treatment. On this part of the evaluation stage, there should consideration of the consequences of lack of the naloxone access (Kim, Irwin ; Khoshnood, 2009). On the second part of the policy, there is the prevention of the new generations from accessing and misusing the opioids.
The ethical considerations in the evaluation stage are psychological understanding of the opioid addict in the treatment methods that will be used since they must be free of bias and stigma. Under the Obamacare, the law shows that there are some of the essential benefits that those who have the insurance can access. However, a new policy that does not morally consider these benefits especially the one on the opioid epidemic and mental health care then this crisis will continue (Florence et al., 2016). The public discussion has seen the opioid epidemic discussion as a wrong one resulting into the conflict of interests with one side urging for the crackdown of the naloxone supply while on the other side, pushing for the extensive addiction treatment. The policy, however, can look at this matter considering each argument as they represent the unique group of people with unique needs.
The evaluation process would be used to determine whether the two objectives of treating the addicted population and preventing the new generations from accessing and misusing the drug would be met. On the opioid addiction treatment, it should be made easier and accessible more than getting the naloxone as the painkillers. The policy looks at how the opioid epidemic is much easier to get high than it is getting help from the addiction. The current state of the matter is that the US has put so much effort into making opioid less accessible, but there is no much effort in the access to the medication-assisted treatment. This objective of the policy would hard to achieve since there is less accessibility of the naloxone as the painkillers that reduces the opioid cravings. To make the matter worse the treatment centers that offer special treatment are less affordable.
On the second objective of the availability of the painkillers is the root of the opioid epidemic making this policy to explain thoroughly how to stop it from becoming worse. The root of the opioid epidemic is back in the early 1990s, and the physicians had the knowledge about the agony and the pain that the drug users go through. Pharmaceuticals saw an investment opportunity, and they pushed the spread of the painkillers that treats the pains. This had spread so far as there is another type of opioids that have painkillers such as the fentanyl. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows that the people who are addicted to painkillers have the largest probability of being addicted to opioids (Kim, Irwin ; Khoshnood, 2009).
On the analysis stage the policy checks at the challenges that face the implementation of the two objectives. Hierarchical levels of the government have to check on the prevention of the opioids over prescription by the use of different policy levels. At the same time, the federal government has a regulatory schedule that tells how the physician can lose the medical licenses if they break these regulations. Therefore, if all these regulations about unscrupulously prescription are not followed well and made available in all the drug abuse prevention, policies then the objectives of this policy will not be met.
Another factor that would hinder this policy objective from being implemented is the severe shortages of the care treatment in some of the areas in the United States. The country does not have affordable options for the treatment, and those available have the patients waiting for a long period of time that can add up to months. Addition of the spending on the addiction care proves not the right way to confront the epidemic as there is an economic burden on the country. The approach of the investing billions of dollars do not give many solutions to the opioid crisis as in the long run there is still the increase of the drug addiction.
The factors that could lead to the fulfillment of the policy objectives starts from the long-term solution to this crisis. By the doctors following the CDC guidelines about the painkillers prescription, it makes sure that there is naloxone are only prescribed on the patients under a unique condition such as the chronic pain. There must be outweighing short-term and long-term benefits of painkillers prescription to prevent the new generation from entering into the opioid abuse. Under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agency, they can help in reviewing the amount of the drugs that are already in the market and improve the prescribing practices (Kim, Irwin ; Khoshnood, 2009). The mitigation strategies should be implemented to have close surveillance for the reevaluation of the opioid promotion.
The revision stage of this policy requires substantive and minor updates from the already mitigation practices that are meant to prevent this crisis. According to the CDC instead of proposing the need for the supplying the prescription, there should be the availability of the medical values through changing the medical practice of how the care is given. Having the emergency services throughout the country will ensure that the all the addiction cases are treated. On the side of making the opioids less dangerous through incorporating the already established strategies such as the “Narcan for all” as they reduce harm and saves lives.
The impacts of the court rulings on the analysis and ruling stages of the policy are that there should be the address of the other factors that lead to the addiction such as the mental health problems, trauma, and economic despair. The changes in welfare policy should consider the way American life has changed requiring the social movement among the communities that discourage drug abuse.
Florence, C. S., Zhou, C., Luo, F., ; Xu, L. (2016). The economic burden of prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence in the United States, 2013. Medical care, 54(10), 901-906.
Hawk, K. F., Vaca, F. E., ; D’Onofrio, G. (2015). Focus: Addiction: Reducing fatal opioid overdose: Prevention, treatment and harm reduction strategies. The Yale journal of biology and medicine, 88(3), 235.
Kim, D., Irwin, K. S., & Khoshnood, K. (2009). Expanded access to naloxone: options for critical response to the epidemic of opioid overdose mortality. American journal of public health, 99(3), 402-407.
Kim, D., Irwin, K. S., & Khoshnood, K. (2009). Expanded Access to Naloxone: Options for Critical Response to the Epidemic of Opioid Overdose Mortality. American Journal of Public Health, 99(3), 402–407. http://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2008.136937