7 Aug 2022


Drug Addiction and Abuse - Health Policy on Drug Abuse

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Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 856

Pages: 3

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The United States has the highest population of drug users and addicts. The federal government through the law enforcement agencies has been on the fore front of discouraging drug use by instituting harsh penalties for offenders. However, the policies have not been critical to the health of the addicts and their rehabilitation since it focuses on the punitive approach. However, the issue remains a major public health concern due to the increasing burden of healthcare spending by the addict and the care givers. The current health policy focuses on the drugs that are considered as illegal, but it is silent on the issue of opioid crisis that is mauling the society. As a nurse, I believe that there is a need to have a change in policy to introduce new regulations regarding drug use, especially through self-prescription.

The National Drug Control Strategy 

The policy is more focused on the health implications of the prescription and non-prescription drugs in the United States. It focuses on the opioid crisis and provides a framework to reduce the increasing cases health implication arising from the use of prescriptions and non-prescription drugs. The Drug Enforcement Administration in the United States indicates that the deaths arising from an overdose of these drugs have reached epidemic levels (Compton & Volkow, 2006).

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The policy is guided by three principles including regarding addiction as a disease that can be treated, recovery, and the reforms in the criminal justice to resolve drug abuse. The primary initiatives of the policy included prescription drug abuse and drugged driving. The policy background indicates that one in every five people using drugs in the United States began by using prescription drugs. Also, of the 38,000 cases of overdose that occurs in the country, more than 20,000 involve cases of prescription drugs(Bush, 2010). The health implication for prescription drugs amounts to bot 55.7 billion every year with most of the costs being committed to addressing healthcare expenses and the due process in the criminal justice(House, 2015).

The policy has different implications for nursing. The opioid crisis has not been regarded as imperative in the fight against drug abuse. The increased sensitivity to health in the United States has led to an upsurge in healthcare spending. There have been increased cases of prescriptions as well as individuals buying drugs over the counter without receiving Medical recommendations. According to Atlanta Federal Reserve Data, more than 1.8 million persons leave the workforce every year due to the health implications associated with prescription drugs. Among them, more than 881,000 have resulted complications from opioid (House, 2015). The escalating use of opioids prevents the workers from going back to their expectations. There should be a policy change in drug abuse and addiction to address this gap.

The increased use of prescribed drugs both prescribes and non-prescribed have affected the workforce negatively through abuse (Kolodny et al., 2015). Without a law addressing the problem, there is a danger in having hundreds of workers remain unproductive due to the detrimental health effects. There is a need for a law to guide prescription and sale of drugs over the counter to minimize the cases of abuse.

The issue can be approached from different angles to provide the required outcomes. First, the government can enforce a law to restrict the sale of drugs that have been identified as inappropriate for self-prescription. The health facilities can revise their prescription processes to ensure that the drugs do have diverse effects on the consumers (Herzberg et al., 2016). The pharmaceutical companies can also revise their distribution strategies to ensure that the drugs that are likely to be used have various are restricted to prescription only. This would reduce the number of people abusing legal drugs.

The change in policy would be implemented to benefit various parties. The government would be a critical beneficiary since it would scale down the expenditure on health due to the reduced cases of drug abuse. The consumers would also benefit from the reduced cases of deaths and incapacitation as a result of the effects of prescribed drugs. The nursing care practitioners would also have an opportunity to attend to other cases of health other than the ones arising from prescription drugs (Lushniak et al., 2015). The reduced number of cases would reduce the number of patients visiting the hospitals, and this would result in reduced pressure on the health infrastructure.

As a nurse, I believe that the policy would have different implications for the profession. First, it is discouraging to have patients be introduced into drug abuse through legally prescribe drugs. As a nurse, my primary role is to promote the healthcare of the society, and my goals would be unfulfilled if the drugs that I prescribe to patients act as a gateway to a bigger health problem. Also, through the policy change, the individuals in I the nursing profession would be guided by the preventive aspect of the policy, which is currently lacking. However, I believe that the change cannot be fully implemented by nurses entirely without involving other stakeholders. There is a need to have a multidimensional approach involving different parties in healthcare, drug manufacturing, and law enforcement. In addition, as a nurse, the policy would be imperative in strengthening the preventive strategies particularly by advising clients on the dangers of their responsible use of prescription drugs.


Bush, G. W. (2010). National drug control strategy . DIANE Publishing.

Compton, W. M., & Volkow, N. D. (2006). Abuse of prescription drugs and the risk of addiction. Drug and alcohol dependence , 83 , S4-S7.

Herzberg, D., Guarino, H., Mateu-Gelabert, P., & Bennett, A. S. (2016). Recurring epidemics of pharmaceutical drug abuse in America: time for an all-drug strategy. American journal of public health , 106 (3), 408-410.

House, U. W. (2015). National Drug Control Strategy: Performance Reporting System Report.

Kolodny, A., Courtwright, D. T., Hwang, C. S., Kreiner, P., Eadie, J. L., Clark, T. W., & Alexander, G. C. (2015). The prescription opioid and heroin crisis: a public health approach to an epidemic of addiction. Annual review of public health , 36 , 559-574.

Lushniak, B. D., Alley, D. E., Ulin, B., & Graffunder, C. (2015). The National Prevention Strategy: leveraging multiple sectors to improve population health.

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