In our research out group has identified the following problems that affect healthcare, the opioid epidemic, health disparities in minorities, specifically organ and bone marrow donation, prescription drug abuse, and lack of fertility insurance coverage. We will provide a more detailed discussion throughout this brief.
The opioid epidemic dates all the way back to the 1980’s when the government loosened restrictions against prescribing pain medications. Since then physicians have been overprescribing opioids as a way for patients to deal with their pain. Today, approximately 175 Americans are dying everyday due to the opioid epidemic. There are several different types of opioids that are both prescribed and illegal. Some natural opiates include morphine, codeine, heroin and opium. Synthetic opioids include oxycodone, Percodan, methadone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, meperidine, and hydromorphone. Opioids work by releasing dopamine in the brain which creates a pleasurable feeling. The pleasurable feeling that people get from the opioid is what makes them want more and more causing an addiction. Opioids can be a form of treatment but it can also be very dangerous to anyone, which is why it is important for Americans to be aware of the problem and create a solution so the opioid epidemic will stop growing.
The opioid epidemic is growing in the United States each year. In 2017, 2.1 million people had an opioid disorder and 47,600 of those people died from overdosing on opioids. This number continues to grow because there is a lack of treatment options or the people cannot afford the treatment they need. As a result, we would like to provide free treatment programs to those suffering from opioid addiction. Given the purchasing power of the government, the group estimates the cost of a 3 month treatment program for opioid patients at approximately $5,000.
Americans suffer from pain every day and in result consult a physician for help, which in return results in an opioid prescription to manage that pain. More than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed, on average, daily in the US. The patients that are taking opioid prescriptions for their pain management risk the side effect that causes drug dependency or otherwise addiction. As a result, we would like to enforce a procedure for prescribing physicians to go through all options before prescribing opioids to their patients. The group estimates the cost at $0.
The two interest groups that are for free opioid addiction programs are the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence and Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education (NOPE).
The American Association for the Treatment of opioid Dependence (AATOD) would be for the proposed policy. The AATOD works with federal and state agency officials concerning the opioid treatment policy. Their main focus is to help patients get reimbursements from Medicaid for their opioid treatment. Given this data, the AAOTD would be behind the proposed policy because their main focus is getting help for those suffering with opioid addiction without them having to worry about the cost.
NOPE is a program that provides resources to those struggling with opioid problems and to those that know of people that have an addiction. This program is a way for people of all ages to find out what options they do have to get help. NOPE also provides scholarships to those that want help but cannot afford to get the help they need. Given this data, NOPE would be behind this proposal idea because they are an organization that wants to help everyone who is struggling and they want to help in any way that they can including financial guidance.
Interest groups that would be against this proposal would be providers that prescribe the prescriptions and insurance companies. Both providers and insurance companies would be against this proposal because they would lose money and business if a free addiction program was to be granted. The two interest groups that would support our solution to overprescribing opioids by physicians are The Prescription Opioid and Pan Workgroup (POP) and The Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP).
The Prescription Opioid and Pain Workgroup would support our solution because they are a group that provides a forum for the scientific and clinical disciplines at NIDA to share current information, new initiatives and progress on the growing problem of prescription drugs. POP is concerned with prescription opioids and has released data showing that prescriptions given out have doubled but pain relief has not been improved.
The Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing is a group that advocates for state and federal policies that promote more cautious prescribing practices. In some cases opioids may be the only solution to patients’ treatment plan, however, the physician needs to make sure that the patient knows all the risks and that they are not prescribing the patient too much. PROP provides physicians and patients with the right education they need when it comes to opioid prescriptions.
The two interest groups that would be against our solution to overprescribing opioids by physicians are The Academy of Integrative Pain Management and the creators of opioids.
One interest group that would not support our solution to overprescribing opioids is the Academy of Integrative Pain Management. The Academy of Integrative Pain Management was accused of receiving 1.3 million dollars from five companies that make opioids. In return they were to promote opioids for patients in search of help with pain management. As long as companies are receiving money they will keep promoting opioids. The second interest group that would not support our solution to overprescribing opioids would be the makers of the opioids. The makers of the drugs will not receive a profit if physicians quit prescribing them.
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