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Our policy enactment is addressing the excessive use of opioids and how having a different approach toward opioid use can enhance the outcomes later on including recovery and overall life expectancy. This policy will reduce the number of deaths annually caused by opioid overdoses. As a society, we are currently in a opioid epidemic. In fact,The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (2018) states, "there are 144 drug overdose deaths per day and 63% of those deaths are pharmaceutical opioids or heroin related." These statistics show the need for a policy that will help and serve those who are addicted to opioids and prevent them from becoming another statistic. This policy will decriminalize possession and or use of opioids in ways they are not intended to be used. This policy will go from society’s standard punitive model to a restorative model. Instead of being sent to jail and charged with misdemeanor or felony drug charges, the individual will be mandated to a treatment program and provided support to prevent incarceration or even death in the future. Each person caught with possession and or use of opioids will go through an assessment to determine individualized lengths of time required to fulfill the treatment requirement. After they completed treatment they will be assessed again for their risk of using opioids again, where the decision of going to a transitional treatment center or released back into the community. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will be in charge of the administration of this policy and will work together in implementing this policy within their agencies. The Department of Health and Human Services will implement this policy within their treatment facilities by using best practice interventions and take gender, ethnicity, rates of victimization, and previous drug involvement into consideration. DHS will also have made sure that all treatment facilities are staffed with individuals who have proper licensure, treatment environments that are clean and well kept up, as well as trained staff with adequate training in opioids. The DEA will be in charge of community outreach. They will act as liaisons between the individuals who are on the streets struggling with an opiod addiction and law enforcement. The goal is to be a more open community that is helping and referring instead of punishing and having people do jail time for an addiction caused by pharmaceuticals. Overall, this policy enactment will help bring awareness to the opioid problem that has increased dramatically over the years.
Fischer, B., & Rehm, J. (2017). Revisiting the ‘paradigm shift’ in opioid use: developments and implications 10 years later. Australian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs, 1, 416-535. doi: 10.1111/dar.12539
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