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Drug Addiction: Importance of Policy Change Essay

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Updated: Apr 21st, 2022

Introduction

The issue of drug addiction and abuse bothers a number of people around the whole world today. Many people cannot comprehend that the pharmacology of such drugs as heroin makes people addictive and unable to think logically with time. The questions of heroin legalization are open in different countries from time to time and cause a number of dilemmas (Moreno 2012). On the one hand, heroin legalization may lead to the reduction of corruption, the improvement of the tax system, and even the prevention of HIV transmission. On the other hand, its legalization may result in serious addictions, the development of crime syndicates, and the possibility to be abused anywhere and anytime (Ghosh, 2010). Drug addiction and abuse are the issues that have to be discussed and analyzed from different aspects to make sure that the policy change and offered practices can work effectively to reduce the number of problems and deaths caused by the heroic epidemic and the possibility to use Narcan.

Legislation

In Michigan, as well as in other American states, heroin and the majority of serious drugs are illegal under all federal and state laws and have to be controlled by the five different schedules of the Controlled Substances Act that was signed in 1970. The schedules were classified according to such criteria as abuse potential, medical use, and dependence potential (Koob, Arends, & Moal, 2014). Heroin is under the Schedule 1 and identified as the drug without an officially recognized medical use that lacks accepted safety even under medical supervision. It also has a very abuse potential; therefore, it cannot be defined as legal in the USA. Narcan (also known as Naloxone) is one of the applicable medications that can be offered to stop the effects and overdose of heroin or other opioids (Foreman, 2014). Michigan legislators offer to provide its citizens with an opportunity to have access to Naran in pharmacies without a prescription (Chicklas, 2016).

Literature Review

The issue of drug abuse and addiction touches upon the lives of many Americans. For example, in 2007, more than 27,000 unintentional deaths because of drug overdoses were officially declared in the US (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). Many writers admit it as one of the fastest health problems for Americans because, despite all laws, people find the possibility to buy and use drugs such as heroin. The peculiar feature of heroin and similar to it drugs such as cocaine or amphetamine is the impossibility to stop taking them voluntary unless the user collapses from exhaustion or convulsions (Wise & Koob, 2014).

Homeless adults undergo a significant risk for death that is caused by heroin overdose in the USA (Dahlem, Horstman, & Williams, 2016). Therefore, it is suggested to involve more nurses, psychologists, and social workers to develop special programs, implement them, and help to overcome and avoid the problems caused by overdose or abuse. In Michigan, the statistic shows that a significant number of people died because of drug abuse, and the numbers are increasing with time:

Drug Addiction: Importance of Policy Change
(Michigan Department of Community Health, 2014).

Despite the prejudices and stereotypes that exist among the citizens of the United States, the ratings of deaths among white people are higher than those of black are: 83.4% of Whites in comparison to only 13.2% of Blacks die because of drug abuse or addiction (Michigan Department of Community Health, 2014). More attention is paid to Black people, their possible drug addiction, and the necessity to launch media campaigns concerning the proliferation of drugs in African American neighborhoods and provide them with facts about heroin, cocaine, and other harmful drugs (Mays, Johnson, Coles, Gellene, & Cochran, 2013). It turns out to be that White people are in the same or even more crucial need of being protected against the harm that could be caused by drug addiction.

Impact of the Current Policy on Nursing

There are many ways of how such current policy issue as the necessity to reduce the number of drug-associated deaths among White people in Michigan can impact nursing. Nurses should share their knowledge about drug abuse and provide comparisons when drugs are used for medical purposes, and when they are misused. The evaluation of the current policy change and the analysis of its outcomes can be rather helpful.

Specific Aspects of the Policy

The following specific issues should be raised in the policy change:

  1. The identification of the role of nurses in drug addiction and abuse;
  2. The explanation of the responsibilities nurses have when they get access to drugs in hospitals or other medical institutions;
  3. The necessity for nurses to share their knowledge about the heroin epidemic with patients and students;
  4. Cooperation between nurses and parents, who want/do not want their children being aware of heroin’s threats or misuse of other drugs; and
  5. Obligations for schools to spend enough number of hours discussing the threats of drugs in a human life with nurses visiting their classes (to share their real-life experiences and knowledge).

Stakeholders

There are several groups of individuals, who can benefit from the policy change and influence its successful development:

  1. Nurses can share their experiences and observations of how drugs can ruin human lives;
  2. Students can learn more about drug addiction and abuse and understand the threats of this issue;
  3. Parents can provide their children with opportunities to learn more about heroin and other drugs that can cause harm to their children; and
  4. Teachers and social workers can involve more people in the discussions of such questions and the heroin epidemic, the use of Narcan, and the possibility to prevent deaths caused by drug abuse; and

Impact on the policy change

There are two possible sides of the impact of this policy change on nursing practice. On the one hand, nurses should be challenged to learn more about the use of drugs, the conditions under which people think about using drugs, and the necessity to share information about the negative aspects of drugs in a human life. It requires more time and efforts to be spent to get ready to discuss the issues of drug abuse with other people. On the other hand, such innovation and the possibility to cooperate with other people can raise the feeling of importance among nurses, provide nurses with a chance to change their workplace from time to time, and make it possible to be deprived of routine jobs.

Analysis of the policy change

Such policy can help to understand the role of nurses and their possibility to influence human lives in a variety of ways. Drug abuse is a serious issue for consideration, and people have to comprehend it, get ready to improve their knowledge every day, and help other people deal with health problems caused by drug abuse. First, it is necessary to make sure that nurses and social workers have a deep understanding of the problem and identify drug abuse as one of the leading causes of death in the region. Nurses should pass through special tests to identify their readiness to work with different groups of people: those, who have already had some health problems because of drug abuse, those, who have already suffered from drugs but do not want to change their habits, and those, who want to know more about the issue of drug abuse and avoid any problems based on drug addiction or abuse. Besides, nurses are the direct participants, who gain control over the access to drugs. In all medical institutions, there are many drugs that are stored in order to be used in cases of emergency. Nurses have to comprehend their level of responsibility and behave appropriately. Finally, there is a need for nurses to understand the methods they can rely on to share information about drugs.

Conclusion

In general, the main problem that bothers Americans is the fact that people know how dangerous heroin and other drugs for their health can be. Still, they do not find it necessary to reduce the numbers. Americans have to understand that their knowledge about drugs has to be improved day by day to understand the existing variety of threats and challenges. Besides, it is also important to promote mutual help and learn how to protect beloved people and friends or even an ordinary person passing by against drugs and their influence on a human life.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2012). CDC grand rounds: Prescription drug overdoses-a US epidemic. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 61(1), 10-13.

Chicklas, D. (2016). Fox 17: West Michigan. Web.

Dahlem, C. H. Y., Horstman, M. J., & Williams, B. C. (2016). Development and implementation of intranasal naloxone opioid overdose response protocol at a homeless health clinic. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 28(1), 11-18.

Foreman, J. (2014). A nation in pain: Healing our biggest health problem. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Ghosh, P. (2010). International Business Times. Web.

Koob, G.F., Arends, M.A., & Moal, M.L. (2014). Drugs, addiction, and the brain. Waltham, MA: Academic Press.

Mays, V. M., Johnson, D., Coles, C. N., Gellene, D., & Cochran, S. D. (2013). Using the science of psychology to target perpetrators of racism and race-based discrimination for intervention efforts: Preventing another Trayvon Martin tragedy. Journal for social action in counseling and psychology, 5(1), 11.

Michigan Department of Community Health. (2014). Web.

Moreno, C. (2012). The Huffington Post. Web.

Wise, R. A., & Koob, G. F. (2014). The development and maintenance of drug addiction. Neuropsychopharmacology, 39(2), 254-262.

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