Assignment: Policy Paper Draft

Directions:  For this assignment, you will develop a policy paper on the issue on which you have been focusing this semester. Approach this paper as if it will circulate to the leaders of major nursing organizations, who are considering what position to take on your issue. Your paper should inform  readers  of the issue and its significance, proposals to address the issue, and your recommendations — what you believe should be done about the issue.

· You can and should build on what you’ve learned so far about the issue through your Issue Description and Hearing Summary.

· The paper should be 5-7 pages, written in APA format, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font and 1-inch margins. (Be sure to include a title page, abstract, and a list of references–these do not count toward the 5-7 pages).

A draft of the paper is due by the end of  Session 9.  You will receive feedback from the instructors and a classmate , which you can incorporate when you revise your paper . This  draft  is worth 12.5 % of your grade—so you want to make this as much of a finished product as possible.  (The final paper  is due  by the end of Session 13).


Include the following: 

· Issue Description

1. Describe the issue, its background, and why people are—or should be—concerned about it. You can incorporate content from your Issue Description assignment.

1. Proposals to Address the Issue

2. What proposals have been put forward to address this issue? Who has proposed them? Who –which interest groups or other stakeholders—support or oppose these proposals? What, if any, evidence do they give for their positions? If there are several proposals, or several stakeholders support ing or opposing them, focus on the major ones.

1. Recommendations

3. Based on what you know about the issue and about proposals to address it, what do you think should be done? What should nursing organizations support, and why?

3. You might agree with a proposal that has already been made, or you might suggest something else, such as a combination of different proposals. (Of course, this depends on the issue, the evidence, and your perspectives).

1. References

4. Include a minimum of 5 references from authoritative sources—these might include peer-reviewed journal articles, government reports, white papers, reliable newspaper articles, etc. They do not include Wikipedia, personal blogs, or social media posts.

1. You may also include a brief Introduction and Conclusion if that helps you in organizing the paper.






Description: Final Paper Presentation

Directions: In our final Webex session each student will give a presentation summarizing the major points of her or his paper. The presentation should be no longer than 5 minutes, with another 5-10 minutes for discussion.




Policy Paper Draft


The Opioid epidemic is a term that applies particularly to the increasing number of fatalities and admissions caused by Opioids, which include both prescribed and illegal drugs. In the past few years, the number of deaths out of these medications has risen to nearly 50,000 annually, or approximately 120 deaths daily, in the United States (Lyden & Binswanger, 2019). Currently, heroin opioid overdose has become the leading cause of accidental death, owing largely to the opioid epidemic problem. Although the opioid crisis gained prominence in the 2010s, the elements that contributed to it began several years earlier (Lyden & Binswanger, 2019). Numerous sources date the onset of the epidemic to the late 1990s as drug companies began promoting synthetic and quasi-opioids to physicians.

The manufacturers claimed that the medications either had lower prospects of addiction or were none addictive compared to Morphine. They also claimed that they did not have any dangerous side effects. Clinicians began prescribing these drugs since they initially noticed no adverse effects associated with their use (Lyden & Binswanger, 2019). The rise of opioid prescriptions directly increased opioid dissemination that has persisted to the present date, leading to the crisis that is currently being experienced. The situation has deteriorated to the point that it weighs on the economy and poses a security danger (Lyden & Binswanger, 2019). Analysts note that while the problem began with the overprescription of legal pain medication, it has intensified in recent years as a result of the surge of inexpensive pharmaceuticals and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl supplied by gangs and cartels.

It is noteworthy that though various initiatives have been implemented, the healthcare sector has further worsened the problem by making it economically difficult for most patients to seek assistance. The notion is supported by a 2017 study that identified an over 500% rise in care costs for patients with opioid addiction issues (Lyden & Binswanger, 2019). The outcome is an increase in illegal opioids within the community and an increase in the number of opioid-related deaths. Though the opioid pandemic is a national problem, the U.S. drug-screening industry has significantly benefited from the sector growing within a short period (Lyden & Binswanger, 2019). It is evident that without proper regulations, the problem caused by contributors of the healthcare industry is also being exploited for profit.

The public should be concerned with the rise in opioid addiction rates, as most people who develop an addiction to opioid medications do that after getting a prescription. According to McGinty et al. (2019), due to the highly addictive qualities of opioid pain medications, the human brain is easily conditioned to seek more of them. Many people are unaware they have developed a dependence on opioids in order to operate normally until their dosage runs out (McGinty et al., 2019). During that stage, individuals are compelled to choose between becoming sober, enduring the pain associated with withdrawal symptoms, or finding other alternatives to attain the euphoric feeling.

It is frequently the moment when people resort to illegal narcotics. It is further propagated by the high cost of prescription opioid medication; thus, people opt for Heroin instead, a cheaper alternative (McGinty et al., 2019). It is typically less expensive, more effective, and easier to obtain than the previous medication. According to the CDC, around 80% of individuals who use Heroin began with a prescription for another opioid. After taking Heroin, over 20% of people depend on opiates.

The number of individuals dying from unintentional opioid overdoses exceeds the combined total of all other drug-related deaths; hence the phrase “Opioid epidemic” was established (Sharareh et al., 2019). The most startling aspect of it is the number of people who die as a result of prescription drugs. Additionally, the readiness of physicians and pharmaceutical firms to market and prescribe medications that are addictive and, in many cases, lethal has been stunning (Sharareh et al., 2019). It is not always individuals who use illegal drugs that bear the consequences. It is the individuals who are taking the prescription. The opioid crisis affects millions of people regardless of age and background; this is inclusive of adolescents, the elderly, ex-servicemen, and members of the LGBTQ community (Sharareh et al., 2019).

Proposals to Address the Issue

There have been various government and non-government sponsored initiatives to address the issue from a medical and security perspective. The HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) has focused on five primary goals in response to the opiate epidemic. The initiatives have been both proactive and reactive to the problem as they have, firstly, enhanced access to treatment and rehabilitation programs (Pitt et al., 2018). The objective is to address the previously mentioned increase in healthcare costs for individuals with opioid addiction seeking assistance.

The initiative has been implemented effectively in most states; however, its impact has been less received in mostly rural states in the Mid-West and Northern regions (Pitt et al., 2018). The second initiative to address the issue has been to promote the administration of overdose-reversing medication. The approach has been reactive to the high number of overdose-related death across the country (Pitt et al., 2018). By offering medical practitioners means of limiting the deaths, restorative actions can be implemented to help the individuals.

The third initiative implemented was bolstering public health awareness relating to the epidemic (Pitt et al., 2018). In other words, the government has spent millions in informing and educating the public through health surveillance programs. The proactive approach has been employed to aid individuals with early symptoms of addiction as well as offer alternative options for patients receiving prescriptions.

The fourth initiative was the support of the latest research on addiction and pain, which would allow for more effective alternatives to be offered other than opioid medication (Pitt et al., 2018). From a personal perspective, the strategy has numerous long-term benefits for the public as it can allow for better patient care management. Lastly, promoting non-pharmacological approaches to pain management allowing for less dependence on opioid medications, thus reducing overall addiction rates (Pitt et al., 2018).

Alternative proposed solutions to the problem involve the role of Congress in imposing laws and policies that limit prescription and illicit opioids (Sharareh et al., 2019). Based on the assessment of the epidemic, the primary cause of the problem is the current flow of opioids for medical and illicit use. Limiting the flow of the drugs would force practitioners and pharmaceutical companies to develop non-addictive alternatives. It can be stated that it would be addressing the current and future scope of the epidemic.