While being a recent problem, the opioid crisis has already become a massive concern, causing aggravation in the health status of numerous patients. The propensity among healthcare providers to prescribe strong medications at a comparatively early stage of disease development and the tendency among pharmaceutical companies to use false advertising to raise sales have created an opioid epidemic. The S.2680 bill, in turn, is supposed to help the U.S. healthcare system to address the opioid crisis by shaping the requirements for pharmaceutical organizations and physicians, as well as encouraging patient education.
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However, the bill requires further changes since it presently lacks instructions concerning patient education. It is important to introduce changes to the existing framework for building patient competence and independence to prevent instances of inappropriate opioid prescriptions. Thus, the implementation of the bill will incite a powerful change in the modern healthcare system. Specifically, the changes geared toward enhancing accountability and responsibility among healthcare providers, nurses, and pharmaceutical companies will need to be incorporated into the bill. Thus, the regulation will become the foundation for a significant shift in the quality of care.
The U.S. public health environment is currently filled with a range of issues that require immediate management. The notorious opioid crisis that has been observed in the U.S. public health setting since 2010 requires immediate action (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2019). The epidemics erupted due to the combination of false advertising from pharmaceutical companies and the propensity among therapists to prescribe strong medications to patients requiring opioid treatment (Kolodny et al., 2015).
While several attempts have been made in the healthcare context to prevent the further aggravation of the epidemic, little to no progress has been made so far (Leece, Orkin, & Kahan, 2015). To counteract the problem, the S.2680 bill has recently been placed on the legislative calendar of the Senate for further consideration (United States Congress, 2019).
The bill is likely to make a significant change to the current situation and lead to a change in the management of addictive pain alleviation products, thus causing an improvement in the public health domain. However, to ensure that the regulation is implemented properly in the context of modern healthcare and that the needs of vulnerable groups are taken into consideration, one should focus on the preventive measures outlined in the bill. Specifically, by creating the platform for enhancing a multicultural dialogue within the American community and reinforcing patient-nurse cross-cultural communication, one will reduce the probability of vulnerable groups being affected by the opioid crisis in the future.
Approaches and Results
While the S.2680 bill seems to offer a legitimately good solution to the ongoing health crisis in the United States, it lacks the focus on patient education and the related aspects. Despite the fact that the key tools for enforcing patient education are outlined in the bill, it could benefit significantly from including a more detailed discussion of the subject matter and more elaborate instructions concerning the tools for implementing the principles in the healthcare environment (Leece et al., 2015). For instance, mechanisms for regulating and supervising the implementation of the suggested measures in the clinical context should be introduced.
It is expected that the use of reports from and supervision of healthcare providers will help to control the changes in the target setting and the management of patients’ needs. The specified issue concerns both the prescription of medications and the introduction of patient education on a statewide level. With a greater focus on accountability of healthcare practitioners, nurses, and pharmacists, a more responsible approach toward managing opioids and structuring the system of treatment for vulnerable groups will become possible (Kolodny et al., 2015).
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Despite being based on a very sensible premise and good intentions, the bill currently lacks the part that will encourage pharmacists and healthcare practitioners to introduce changes to the present treatment framework. However, once the concept of accountability and a system of rigid standards for providing opioid-based treatment is incorporated into the regulation, one will set the basis for a gradual improvement in healthcare services.
Finally, the FDA-related issue needs to be discussed as an important aspect of the bill. The emphasis on cooperation with the FDA is a crucial opportunity in designing the regulation in a way that will prevent organizations from falsely advertising their products. Specifically, the necessary changes to the FDA standards will make it possible for strong opioids to be marketed as such. Moreover, one will be able to stop the practice of selling off-counter drugs for patients requiring opioid treatment (Kolodny et al., 2015).
Thus, the probability of patients that require smaller doses of medication to receive the needed amount of opioid drugs increases. Consequently, the threat of developing chemical dependency will be reduced exponentially, and patients will have a chance to receive high-quality care that is tailored specifically to their needs.
The S.2680 bill is believed to be the tool that will put an end to the opioid epidemic that is presently taking place in the U.S. healthcare context. By introducing rigid standards into the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare practice, one will reduce the threat of patients being prescribed medications stronger than their current state requires. Furthermore, it is critical to enhancing the supervision of medical prescription and selling. The latter issue is particularly important for addressing the purchase and selling of off-counter medication.
Implications and Recommendations
It is expected that the S.2680 bill will produce a largely positive effect on the current public health situation. With the restrictions imposed on the intensity of opioid therapies provided to patients, the number of instances in which patients develop a rapid and inevitable substance dependency is likely to reduce. Thus, the S.2680 bill may change the current public health setting and affect the quality of vulnerable groups’ lives positively.
However, there is a possibility that with more stringent regulations concerning the provision of strong opioids as a therapy, patients that need stronger medications may encounter difficulties receiving the needed treatment. To counteract the described scenario, clear and direct guidelines that will detail the situations in which strong opioid medications should be provided will need to be introduced.
In addition, creating the tools for supervising the process of opioids production, prescription, and selling will supposedly contribute to the management of the opioid crisis that is currently observed in the U.S. Reports and audits presently remain the main methods of supervising the process and detecting the instances in which the rules set by new regulations are broken. Therefore, it is essential for the bill to receive proper attention and to be supported actively by American citizens. With enough involvement from the concerned party, the legislation will produce a positive effect on the health status of patients that require opioid therapy.
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. Web.
Leece, P., Orkin, A. M., & Kahan, M. (2015). Tamper-resistant drugs cannot solve the opioid crisis. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 187(10), 717-718. Web.
United States Congress. (2019). S.2680 – Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018. Web.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). What is the U.S. opioid epidemic? Web.