Many patients are prescribed opioids to manage chronic pains and relieve symptoms of a disease. However, prescription drug misuse becomes prevalent in the United States, resulting in a significant economic and healthcare burden. To counteract this trend, the Florida Senate has issued an HB 743: Nonopioid Alternatives bill to encourage patient education on substance dependence. This paper’s objective is to examine the issue described above, investigate the policy, outline its effect on vulnerable populations, and argue for the importance of the bill’s implementation.
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Overview of Health Policy and Issue
The issue of prescription drug addiction is becoming an alarming trend in modern healthcare that urges for a solution. According to Califf et al. (2016), there is a “growing epidemic of opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose directly related to the misuse of powerful opioid pain medications” (p. 1480). One of the efforts to cope with the issue is HB 743: Nonopioid Alternatives bill issued by the Florida Senate. The legislation focuses on patients’ and patient representatives’ education on substance abuse: practitioners who prescribe Schedule II medication are obliged to inform patients and caregivers about drugs’ threats and alternatives. The bill also allocates patient education responsibility to the doctors who prescribe the drug rather than those who administer it which cultivates efficiency and collaboration.
Health Policy Development
To examine the importance of solving the aforementioned problem further, it is essential to address the changemakers, policy’s aims, and resource allocation. The HB 743: Nonopioid Alternatives bill is developed and implemented by the Florida Senate as initially proposed by representative Scott Plakton (The Florida Senate, 2020). The Florida Department of Health has also contributed to the regulation by developing educational materials such as posters, pamphlets, and checklists to guide patients and their representatives in opioid drug usage.
The policy’s integration into the healthcare system does not require significant funding: the educational efforts that the medical staff prescribing Schedule II medication should be transmitted in a verbal form. Medical professionals do not need additional training for this measure since they are already aware of opioid dangers. During urgent medication prescriptions in hospices and emergency departments, the doctors are obliged to hand out the printed pamphlets that the Florida Department of Health has created (The Florida Senate, 2020). The Florida Senate (2020) claims that the printed educational material can be downloaded and printed from the faculties’ equipment. Therefore, there are no barriers to change, such as a need for significant resource allocation.
This policy will influence the targeted populations in a significant way by reducing the likelihood of prescription opioid misuse. Califf et al. (2016) state that educational measures work better in drug misuse prevention strategies than strict drug administration and monitoring procedures since this approach eliminates the cause instead of tackling the aftermath. Being informed about the consequences of misuse will consciously prepare patients for the treatment’s challenges. In contrast, patient representatives like caregivers will have the ability to recognize and address the issue. As a result, the patients themselves will be more likely to voice their concerns about opioid use and switch to alternatives. Furthermore, caregivers’ supervision of medication and the ability to intervene in extreme situations decrease the chance of substance dependence (Califf et al., 2016). This will result in lessening the economic burden on the population since patients will not need to buy more medications to fuel their addiction, decreasing health risks associated with narcotics abuse.
In conclusion, the policy’s need becomes apparent due to the necessity of patient education and the lack of attention towards patient representatives. Firstly, the educational opportunities will promote addiction awareness that, as Califf et al. (2016) claim, plays a crucial role in determining a person’s inclination towards opioid misuse. Secondly, the policy’s focus on patient representatives is essential since they are more likely to monitor their patients’ behavior and intervene if abuse happens (Califf et al., 2016). The current policy provides opportunities for creating efficient barriers to medication dependence.
Califf, R., Woodcock, J., & Ostroff, S. (2016). A proactive response to prescription opioid abuse. New England Journal of Medicine, 374(15), 1480-1485.
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The Florida Senate. (2020). HB 743: Nonopioid alternatives. The Florida Senate: House Bills.