The opioid crisis in the United States is the term used to explain the addiction to analgetics that leads to substance abuse disorders and is a cause of thousands of deaths due to overdose. This issue requires policy action from communities since the government and the market system were unable to resolve it. The main goal of policy analysis is to help the client make informed choices regarding a public policy decision and offer a course of action based on the stakeholder’s values and capabilities. The recommended course of action that this community should adopt to combat opioid misuse is raising awareness about the problem. This speech aims to present to the stakeholders the issue of the opioid crisis in this community, explain several options and criteria for their evaluation, and recommend a suitable course of action.
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Public Policy Decision-Making
Opioid overuse has been an ongoing problem in the United States and this community in particular. According to Davis (2019), “opioid-overdose deaths have increased every year for the past two decades, driving a drug-overdose epidemic that killed more than 72,000 Americans in 2017” (p. 3). This prompted the government to implement the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). This policy aims to increase availability and access to care facilities for people with substance abuse disorders. However, it is essential to address opioid overdose problems at a community level as well.
This community values the cooperation and help that its members can expect to receive from each other. Considering these values and the power that the community has, the recommended course of action is to implement a policy that will help improve the understanding of the opioid misuse issue and the subsequent substance abuse that may be the result of it. This policy analysis will brief this community on the current state of opioid use in the area and will outline the recommendation to create a public awareness program regarding the danger of opioids as the strategy for combating this crisis.
Evaluating Policy Analysis
Informed advice related to the public policy decision is essential when considering a new public policy that is meant to resolve a severe health crisis. There are two strategies that this community may choose to adopt when selecting the most appropriate plan for addressing the opioid crisis. The first one is the public interest theory, a way of making decisions regarding the community’s problems and strategies for resolving them through a majority voting (Allsop, 2018). Additionally, according to the public interest theory, the efficiency of the market is an essential criterion when examining any policy. The second approach is the special interest theory, which implies that before implementing a new policy, the community should analyze who will win or lose as a result (Allsop, 2018). Hence, this approach creates more equality and ensures that the particular policy will benefit the people that it targets. In the case of the opioid crisis, this community should use the special needs theory to consider the effect that the new policy will have on healthcare facilities, pharmacies, rehabilitation centers, individuals with substance abuse issues, and other community members.
A policy analyst must consider and present several options when evaluating a particular issue. Some aspects of the opioid crisis problem that the analyst must consider are the effect that the federal legislation or CARA has on regulating access to opioids and rehabilitation. Additionally, it is necessary to recognize that opioid misuse is worsened by the social stigma associated with it. Finally, as explained by Dasgupta and Ciccarone (2018), drug consumption is a multidimensional issue, involving both psychological and physiological factors that lead to an addiction. Therefore, an analyst must understand that the new policy should address the mentioned factors to be effective.
Any policy analyst must provide three to five options for the community stakeholders to consider. An excellent example of justifying this is CARA, which was a federal response to the crisis. However, it failed to lower the rate of deaths caused by opioids (Davis, 2019). This is because it is difficult to predict all the possible outcomes of the policy. Moreover, Allsop (2018) explains that different options can be based on different theories. For example, when examining the opioid crisis from the perspective of the market theory, the supplier of the healthcare services and the consumer should balance the supply and demand, providing optimal conditions to address such problems. However, in actuality, the market system was unsuccessful when responding to the opioid crisis, partially because of the profits generated from prescriptions (“Opioid overdose pandemic,” n.d.). An analyst may consider the theories of healthcare policies and offer several options that focus on different aspects of the opioid crisis, while the community will decide which option is the most suitable.
Next, the options that the client should consider should be outlined. The first option would be to focus on the community’s support for the people who struggle with substance abuse. This can be in the form of support groups and rehabilitation centers where people with substance abuse can go to receive help. Additionally, opioid use is often associated with stigma creating an adverse perception of people with substance abuse disorders, which leads to their inability to seek help or go to a facility for recovery (Davis, 2019). Therefore, a campaign that aims to raise awareness about opioid use and why this has become a widespread issue can help this community resolve the problem, targeting the element of prevention and awareness with this policy. The final policy option is to create a stricter monitoring process applied to opioid prescriptions.
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When evaluating each of the three options, it is necessary to apply a set of criteria, which will help the community members compare and contrast different policies. Potential criteria for evaluating the chosen policy can be the effect that the policy will have on people who struggle with substance abuse. For example, with the second option, these individuals will have an understanding of their problem and will experience less stigma, which can prompt them to get help. Additional criteria may be the costs needed to implement the policy compared to the benefits it.
To sum up, this speech focused on the opioid crisis and ways in which this community can address this problem, considering the values and power of the stakeholders. By having several options policy options for analysis, this community will be able to choose the one that addresses the multiple aspects of the opioid use crisis. Policy analysis is a process of examining evaluating a recommended course of action to make an informed decision. In this case, out of the three options, the policy of increasing the community’s awareness about opioid abuse is recommended.
Allsop, J. (2018). Health policy and the NHS. Routledge.
Dasgupta, N. & Ciccarone, D. (2018). Opioid crisis: No easy fix to its social and economic determinants. AJPH, 108(2), 182-186.
Davis, C. S. (2019). The Support for Patients and Communities Act — What will it mean for the opioid-overdose crisis? The New England Journal of Medicine, 380, 3-5. Web.
Opioid overdose pandemic. (n.d.). 2020. Web.