The prescription of opioids has become a problematic issue that has to be addressed. The reason for it is that currently, opioids have been utilized to treat conditions that are not associated with acute or chronic pain and can be managed by other medications. Notably, opioids misuse may cause severe effects in patients, including addiction, severe withdrawal effects, and death. The issue is significant to nursing practice as care providers serve as advocates for patients and should work in patient’s interests. Thus, they should assess the potential risks and prevent unreasonable prescriptions of opioids.
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As a medical professional, a nurse should assess patients’ conditions to suggest the most effective treatment. In many cases, especially when the condition is not associated with acute or chronic pain, the prescription of opioids is unnecessary. The New York State Department of Health (2018) notes that opioids also cannot be prescribed to individuals unless the treatment plan in the medical record aligns with generally accepted standards. Nurses should assess individuals’ levels of pain and the causes of it to recommend the use of any treatment.
It is vital for nurses to advocate for policies that restrict excessive opioids prescription. They may include outlining the conditions that may require the use of such medications, limiting opioid treatment periods or doses, as well as establishment of educational training for medical professionals regarding the potential risks. It is vital to understand that the administration of any medications should be performed after a thorough assessment of individuals’ conditions, past medical history, and cases of drug abuse, as well as the level of pain. Nurses, as patients’ advocates, should strive to prevent cases of opioids misuse and unnecessary prescription.
New York State Department of Health. (2018). Prescribing practices in New York State. Web.