Evidence on Strategies for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic Essay

Evidence on Strategies for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic Essay

When politics and medical science intersect, there can be much debate. Sometimes anecdotes or hearsay are misused as evidence to support a particular point. Despite these and other challenges, however, evidence-based approaches are increasingly used to inform health policy decision-making regarding causes of disease, intervention strategies, and issues impacting society. One example is the introduction of childhood vaccinations and the use of evidence-based arguments surrounding their safety. In this Discussion, you will identify a recently proposed health policy and share your analysis of the evidence in support of this policy. To Prepare: Review the Congress website provided in the Resources and identify one recent (within the past 5 years) proposed health policy. Evidence on Strategies for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic Essay.  Review the health policy you identified and reflect on the background and development of this health policy. Write a description of the health policy you selected and a brief background for the problem or issue being addressed. Explain whether you believe there is an evidence base to support the proposed policy and explain why. Be specific and provide examples.

The unauthorized distribution and misuse of opioids have gradually resulted in opioid dependence and prescription disorders, high accidental overdose deaths, and abuse of opioids. As highlighted by Stoicea et al (2019), this has had devastating effects on the healthcare system and medical infrastructure, which may continue to worsen if the opioid epidemic fails to be resolved appropriately in the coming decades. One of the strategies that were proposed to address the opioid epidemic is increasing access to treatment of opioid use disorders (OUDs). This includes increasing access to treatment centers and pain management healthcare providers. This strategy influenced the adoption and implementation of the SUPPORT act (Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment), which was signed into law on the 24th October 2018 and is the chosen policy for this assignment.


Initially, physicians needed a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine. Although the waiver’s purpose was to increase the utilization of OUD treatment beyond methadone, it has presented barriers healthcare access (Shapiro, Villarroel & George, 2019). The SUPPORT act addresses this barrier through an eligibility waiver for any physicians who graduate from US-based osteopathic and allopathic medical schools which incorporate the required materials in curriculum standards (Shapiro, Villarroel & George, 2019). The policy also provides exclusive provisions to strengthen increase, and teach the health workforce addiction medicine, and standardize the provision of comprehensive and coordinated addiction treatment. Evidence on Strategies for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic Essay.

Currently, existing evidence from the Committee on Pain Management and Regulatory Strategies to Address Prescription Opioid Abuse et al (2017) emphasizes the need for a systems approach to address the opioid epidemic. One of the proposed evidence-based approaches from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) is increasing the utilization and access to medical-assisted treatment (MAT) for OUD. Policy can help to promote this access by ensuring the availability of qualified primary care providers in medical homes and health centers where buprenorphine maintenance therapy (BMT) is integrated. Evidence on Strategies for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic Essay.


Committee on Pain Management and Regulatory Strategies to Address Prescription Opioid Abuse, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Health and Medicine Division, Board on Health Sciences Policy. (2017). Evidence on Strategies for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK458653/

Shapiro, A., Villarroel, L. R., & George, P. (2019). A call to maximize the impact of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act through standard inclusion of opioid use disorder treatment curricula in medical schools. Advances in medical education and practice10, 581–583. https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S205946

Stoicea, N., Costa, A., Periel, L., Uribe, A., Weaver, T., & Bergese, S. D. (2019). Current perspectives on the opioid crisis in the US healthcare system: A comprehensive literature review. Medicine98(20), e15425. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000015425. Evidence on Strategies for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic Essay.