Health Policy Issue- Opioid Overdose (Fentanyl) in Ontario Youth (18-24)
ADVANCED HEALTH POLICY HS 4400 8
HealthPolicy Issue- Opioid Overdose (Fentanyl) in Ontario Youth (18-24)
HealthPolicy Issue- Opioid Overdose (Fentanyl) in Ontario Youth (18-24)
Opioidoverdose is an acute condition that is caused by excessive intake ofopioids such as heroin, oxycodone, tramadol, methadone and morphine(Darke, 2016). Boththe government of Canada and non-governmental authorities such as theCanadian Public Health Association shouldcome up with elaborate strategies to govern how the cases of opioidoverdoses should be handled (Bratberg et. al, 2015). Overdose-relateddeaths have become the third leading cause of unplanned fatalities inthe city of Ontario (Connie & Brittany, 2013). The CanadianPublic Health Association has endeavored to ensure that all Othariansand Canadians at large have the support and access to services theyrequire to deal with drug abuse. Given that opioid overindulgenceresults in the deaths of about of a third of the patients in the cityof Ontario, the government is obliged to review the policies that canhelp to control and overcome this pertinent issue.
3-IsFramework Policy Analysis
The3-Is framework of analyzing the ideas, interests, and institutionsconcerning a topic has been used by policy developers to guide theformulation of public policy (King & Brandt, 2013). In Canada,insufficient policies are governing opioid overdose handling (Knopf,2015). The goal of this paper is to employ the 3-Is framework todevelop a system that will help the Canadian Public HealthAssociation to come up with effective policies to control opioidoverdose fatalities. The 3-Is outline is the basis for which all thepolicies are developed. For instance, before a policy is made, therehas to be a set of ideas that work towards a specified interest.
Theconcept of interest in the 3-Is guideline refers to who will benefitfrom and who will be affected or suffer from the policy in question.It also describes the stakeholders and their agendas of coming upwith a certain plan. In Canada, numerous people are succumbing todrug abuse. According to Connie and Brittany (2013), it is hard togauge and determine the magnitude of opioid-related overdose injuriesand deaths across Canada because not all provinces actively providesuch data. In addition, data does not exist to allow the assessmentof the impact of non- fatal overdose related effects such as braininjury due to lack of oxygen (Buchholz, 2015). The youths in Canadaspecifically those between 18 to 24 years are the most affected bythis epidemic (Sutherland & Busse, 2016).
Nevertheless,one thing that is clear is that prescription related deaths have goneup sharply and it is estimated to constitute about 50 percent ofannual drug deaths (Connie & Brittany, 2013). Annually, the rateof fatal overdose for individuals who inject illegal drugs isprojected to be between one and three percent (Beletsky, 2013). TheCanadian Public Health Association is concerned by the fact thatfifty-eight percent out of the 2,330 drug overdose related fatalitiesin Ontario as from 2006 to 2008 were connected either in part orwhole to opioids (Connie & Brittany, 2013). Also, from 2002 to2010, there were 1654 critical overdoses connected to prohibiteddrugs in the British Columbia (BC), and between the same periods,there were 2,325 prohibited drug-related overdose hospitalizations(Connie & Brittany, 2013). In 2012 alone, there were 256 opioidoverdose deaths in BC, somewhat less than 2011 that recorded 294deaths. Connie and Brittany (2013) also reveal that the high numbersof deaths in 2011 were attributed to the rise in the purity of heroinin the Canadian streets. Additionally, in 2011, Quebec recorded 95deaths due to opioid overdoses.
Thefederal government of Canada is fully to be blamed when the youthsindulge in drug use (Keogh, 2017). The Canadian Public HealthAssociation has called for the decriminalizing of illicit drugs andemphasizing harm reduction (Sutherland & Busse, 2016). Thisprocess will involve many stakeholders that include the Canadiangovernment, the Canadian public health association and the affectedyouths. Decriminalizing drugs will shame the traffickers and alsodecrease the stigma because individuals will be more honest and openabout this problem (Keogh, 2017). The Canadian parents have also beendevastated by opioid overdose and remain helpless because the waragainst illegal drugs has been won by peddlers (Sutherland &Busse, 2016). With the younger generation perishing due to opioidoverdose, the community as a whole gets affected. Moreover, thegrowth of the country depends on the efforts of the young peoplewhich justifies why the government should revise their policies(Sampalli, 2016).
Argumentshave been voiced concerning the legalization of hard drugs in Canadawhich will be a long lasting solution to opioid overdose in thecountry. The crisis has made it inevitable for the federal governmentto start having open discussions about the legalization of thesedrugs that include the access to a prescription of heroin (McCarthy,2012). Critics argue that there is a need to end the war against harddrugs because it ‘kills people’. Currently, the problem of druguse in Canada is very high in that it does not matter if the drugsare legal or illegal (Keogh, 2017). When these drugs are madeillegal, users will tend to shy away from seeking medication in casethey develop complications after use. In the neighboring UnitedStates of America, there is a provision that guarantees individualswith drug-related complications medication (Keogh, 2017). If one goesto hospital citing an illegal drug overdose, he or she will betreated and discharged without being prosecuted. It is only a crimeif one if found in possession of these drugs (Davis et. al, 2012).Therefore, the Canadian government should also have similar policies.The authorities in Canada are only left with two options to pursue.They either completely eradicate the drugs from either circulation orotherwise legalize these drugs. However, the latter is more workablebecause it is a hard task to execute the first option.
Institutionsin this context define the current policies in place or past policiesthat have been used to address this problem. These institutionstypically influence the development of new systems. Currently, inCanada, there is a zero tolerance to the use of hard drugs (Keogh,2017). The Canadian constitution stipulates various penalties foranyone found engaging in any drug related activity. Users riskprosecution if found either in possession or using these drugs. In2016, the opioid policy framework was published by the Centre forAddiction and Mental Health (Keogh, 2017). The CAMH was contentedwith the new guidelines that involved the modernization of theOntario’s addiction rehabilitation systems (Sampalli, 2016).However, the report also pointed out that when the action was takento substitute OxyContin with OxyNEO which was a tamper proof option,the usage of heroin went up more than double. This resulted in morepeople getting into the streets to engage in more dangerousactivities to get high (Keogh, 2017). The drug problem shifted fromdoctors’ offices to seedy hotel rooms, underneath bridges and darkalleys. Therefore, it is evident that the current policies governingdrug use does no good but escalate the problem.
Regardlessof the measures the government of Canada has undertaken to solve theproblem of Opioid Overdose the rates have continued to rise each day(Leece, et. al, 2013). On the other hand, legalization of hard drugshas proofed to be more effective in dealing with this underlyingissue (Paul, 2015). Canada should learn from the Portuguesegovernment who took the initiative to enact a policy that saw thelegalization hard drugs. According to the Canadian Public HealthAssociation, besides getting people to be open about their addictionproblems, this will help the government to identify the drug peddlerswho would rather operate secretly (Davis et. al, 2012). Also, thiswill significantly reduce the number of Canadian youths who die toopioid overdose related issues (Lanoix, 2013). Therefore, theCanadian Public Health Association should lobby the Canadiangovernment to seriously consider developing a policy that willdecriminalize the use of hard drugs.
Ina conclusion, the use of hard drugs and some prescribed medicationcan sometimes lead to a dangerous overdose. However, when it comes tohard drugs, the Canadian government policies might preventindividuals from seeking any help from a health care provider. Thegovernment of Canada should revise its policies regarding the issueto more friendly provisions so that the rate of fatalities arisingfrom the overdose can reduce.
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