Opioid Addiction in the United States

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 3
Words: 557
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: PhD

Opioid addiction is considered a major practice problem in the US that can have severe health, economic, and social implications. Even though the use of opioid medication is a normal part of postoperative analgesia, some people are prone to developing opioid misuse disorder. Opioid addiction is characterized by the inability to control opioid use and compulsive urge to use the drugs even if they are no longer medically required. Since these chemical substances change the chemistry of the brain, one needs to increase the dose permanently to achieve the same effect.

Prescription opioids are misused by a huge number of people across all racial and economic demographics. Over the last couple of decades, the rate of opioid-involved overdose deaths has increased exponentially (Scholl, Seth, Kariisa, Wilson, & Baldwin, 2018). Despite the fact that the US contains less than five percent of the total world population, approximately sixty-six percent of the total supply of opioids is consumed by Americans (Demsey, Carr, Clarke, & Vipler, 2017, p. 614). Apart from side effects, such as mental fog, nausea, drowsiness, and constipation, addiction to opioids may cause life-threatening issues, such as overdose, which may lead to death if not treated immediately.

Opioid-related overdose death rates and prescribing rates vary widely across different states. In 2016, the national opioid-related overdose death rate was equal to 13.3, with a total of 42,000 drug overdose deaths (Scholl et al., 2018, p. 1422). The highest drug overdose death rates involving prescription opioids were observed in West Virginia, Ohio, Washington, New Hampshire, Maine, and Maryland (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). This highlights the need for healthcare professionals to consider evidence-based strategies to decrease the alarming opioid crisis.

Evidence-Based Intervention

The development of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) is an evidence-based intervention that can reduce provider opioid prescription rates. PDMPs are electronic databases that collect and analyze all substances prescribed to patients on a state level. After the data is submitted to the PDMPs by pharmacies and dispensing practitioners, it can be accessed by physicians to see a patient’s prescribing history and identify if they are obtaining opioids from multiple providers. There is evidence that the utilization of such electronic databases can help control and enhance opioid prescribing and protect patients who are at risk (Bao et al., 2016). Improving the way in which opioids are prescribed can help ensure that patients have access to the more effective and safe treatment of chronic pain.

Informational Population Health “Tweet”

#Opioidaddiction is an epidemic. It is wreaking havoc on our nation and taking so many lives. To curb the increasing #opioidmisuse, there is a need for designing and implementing prescription drug monitoring programs. #PDMPs must enable a complete picture of one’s Rx history for informed decision-making and interventions.

Measurable Outcomes

The goal of the given tweet is to promote awareness of the health problem of opioid addiction and misuse and the suggested evidence-based intervention. Thus, one particular measurable outcome to the tweet is the number of views that the tweet has acquired. This indicator will tell how many people viewed the information about the practice problem of opioid addiction. Another measurable outcome is the number of retweets, which will indicate how many people decided to share this tweet with others. The more people shared the tweet, the more captivating and important was the information provided in it.


Bao, Y., Pan, Y., Taylor, A., Radakrishnan, S., Luo, F., Pincus, H. A., & Schackman, B. R. (2016). Prescription drug monitoring programs are associated with sustained reductions in opioid prescribing by physicians. Health Affairs, 35(6), 1045–1051.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). U.S. opioid prescribing rate maps. Web.

Demsey, D., Carr, N. J., Clarke, H., & Vipler, S. (2017). Managing opioid addiction risk in plastic surgery during the perioperative period. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 140(4), 613–619.

Scholl, L., Seth, P., Kariisa, M., Wilson, N., & Baldwin, G. (2018). Drug and opioid-involved overdose deaths — United States, 2013–2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 67(5152), 1419–1427.