Prescription Opioid Abuse Case Study

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The United States is facing an epidemic. As many are aware, prescription opioid abuse is a problem across the country. Within the last ten years, the United States has seen an alarming increase of opioid overdoses. Prescription painkillers claim the lives of 120 people every day, and approximately 6,700 people visit the emergency room for opioid abuse. In the current state, prescription drug overdoses claim more lives than car accidents. In Tennessee, the number one abused substance is prescription opioids, and drug-related crimes have increased 33% in the last ten years. Opioid overdoses affect everyone, and the cost to society is huge. “In the United States, prescription opioid abuse costs were about $55.7 billion in 2007. Of this amount, …show more content…

This bill was passed by the House on April 14, 2014. The bill carefully describes a “drug-related overdose”, clarifies that an “opioid antagonist” means naloxone, and states that a licensed healthcare provider may prescribe naloxone to people who are at risk of an opioid overdose, or people who are in a position to assist others in an opioid overdose event. The bill goes on to state that those who act in good faith to administer naloxone will be exempt from disciplinary actions under title …show more content…

If I were a nurse, I would contact my state representatives and ask about other bills that will expand the access to naloxone. Registered nurse, Angela Clark explains, “Nurses providing testimony that raises awareness of the impact of the opioid epidemic and potential for this legislation to address this concern will promote a willingness to adopt these bills” (Clark, 2014). Nurses should be educated and prepared to address opponents who claim the bill gives addicts permission to abuse. When in fact, naloxone should be viewed as a lifeline to recovery. Clark states, “Reversing an overdose with naloxone ‘buys’ healthcare providers another opportunity to provide treatment, and we know that with adequate time, treatment works” (Clark, 2014). Another common argument is that addicts abuse drugs by their own personal choice. Nurses can remind people that many people addicted to opioids begin their journey seeking relief from pain. Over time, and often through no fault of their own, their bodies become addicted to that relief. Aside from vocalizing support for this bill, nurses can integrate overdose prevention in their practice. Nurses can review their organization’s plan for responding to an overdose, or create a plan if their organization does not have one. In addition, nurses can educate their patients and families on overdose prevention, explain the signs and symptoms

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