Letter to the Editor: Population Health Policy Advocacy

Copyright ©2018 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.
Letter to the Editor: Population Health Policy Advocacy
Learner’s Name
Capella University
NURS-FPX6026: Biopsychosocial Concepts for Advanced Nursing Practice II
Instructor’s Name
November 1, 2021
Copyright ©2018 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.
Letter to the Editor: Population Health Policy Advocacy
Current State of Quality of Care for Veterans Affected by Opioid Addiction
Veterans have been affected by the opioid crisis disproportionately. The rates of opioid
abuse and misuse among veterans are higher than among civilians. Veterans commonly present
with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse disorder. The presence of these
behavioral issues in combination with chronic pain is likely to lead to misuse. Individuals may
attempt to soothe emotional or psychological pain with opioids, incorrectly associating the
physical relief or euphoria that opioids provide with psychological relief (Sullivan & Howe,
The Necessity of Health Policy Development for Opioid Addiction
Currently, there are policies that deal with maximum dosages and verifying dosage refills
through state prescription drug monitoring programs. However, the policy currently being
proposed will address the lack of awareness about opioids and opioid addiction. Childers and
Arnold even found that many clinicians do not believe they possess the knowledge or the skills
required to treat patients with addiction (as cited in Snow & Wynn, 2018).
Improving the Quality of Care in Treating Patients with Opioid Addiction
By adopting policy that requires making active efforts toward raising awareness about the
risks associated with opioids, health care organizations would empower individuals with
knowledge that could potentially help them and those close to them. Misconceptions about
opioid use will be clarified if the public is well-informed. Forming a committee composed of
pain management specialists, psychiatrists, and senior nurses to oversee the organization of such
programs would ensure that the programs are organized effectively and regularly. At these
programs, trained physicians would talk about the risks associated with opioid use and misuse
Copyright ©2018 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.
and nurses would describe the symptoms of an overdose and demonstrate correct procedure in
such situations.
Further, it is important to monitor patients who have been prescribed long-term opioid
treatment to ensure that they are not abusing their medication or allowing for it to be diverted or
misused. To address this, the policy mandates that individuals who have been prescribed longterm opioids regularly meet with a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist would be required to update the
attending physician if any potential concerns arose.
How the Policy will Support Achievement of Desired Outcomes
The proposed policy would require significant expenditure to effectively implement
programs to raise awareness and educate individuals. Further, it could also be argued that the
expenses incurred on the patients’ side would be significant. These arguments raise important
concerns on the practical application of the policy being suggested; however, these costs could
potentially benefit the patients’ overall well-being as well as result in significant positive social
change. Studies by Rydell and Everingham and the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate
that every dollar spent toward the prevention of drug abuse and treatment would result in
significant savings at the national level (as cited in Crowley et al., 2017).
Policy Development Advocacy
This policy would provide individuals with knowledge that can be applied outside of the
hospital setting. At home or among friends, these individuals could save lives because they
recognize potentially harmful patterns of behavior and are aware of how to proceed in such
contexts. Further, such policy would build trust and garner more positive change in time.
Copyright ©2018 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.
Crowley, R., Kirschner, N., Dunn, A. S., & Bornstein, S. S. (2017). Health and public policy to
facilitate effective prevention and treatment of substance use disorders involving illicit
and prescription drugs: An American College of Physicians position paper. Annals of
Internal Medicine, 166(10), 733–736. https://doi.org/10.7326/M16-2953
Snow, R., & Wynn, S. T. (2018). Managing opioid use disorder and co-occurring posttraumatic
stress disorder among veterans. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health
Services, 56(6), 36–42. https://doi.org/10.3928/02793695-20180212-03
Sullivan, M. D., & Howe, C. Q. (2013). Opioid therapy for chronic pain in the US: Promises and
perils. Pain, 154(Suppl 1), S94–100.
Copyright ©2018 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.
Journal Guidelines
Journal Name: Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services
Submission Guidelines for Letters to the Editor: Letters to the Editor are correspondence
regarding articles previously published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental
Health Services or other topics relevant to practicing psychiatric-mental health nurses. If the
letter is regarding a previously published article, it must be submitted within 12 months of the
article’s publication to be considered for possible publication, and the author of that article will
be given the opportunity to respond. Letters should be no longer than 500 words. References are
not necessary, but if included, should be kept to a maximum of three. All letters must contain a
clear message or point for readers. Letters may be edited for clarity or length, and letter authors
must disclose any competing or conflicting interests, if applicable. All letters are published at the
Editor’s discretion. Letters should be submitted by email to the editorial office.

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