NUR 908 Health Policy Brief Paper

NUR 908 Health Policy Brief Paper

Preventing Opioid Overdose Cases Among the Elderly Population in the United States of America (USA).

Executive Summary

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Opioid overdose is a significant issue affecting healthcare and public health in the USA, particularly among the elderly population. Chronic pain, common among older adults, often leads to opioid use, contributing to overdose risks. While legislative efforts like the proposed bill (H.R 3150) seek to address the problem, opioid overdoses among the elderly persist. This policy brief explores alternative strategies to reduce such cases.



Problem of Statement

Despite policy efforts, opioid overdose remains a critical public health concern, with the elderly being particularly vulnerable due to pain-related conditions requiring opioid use. Therefore, it is necessary to explore additional strategies to mitigate the issue effectively (Hoopsick et al., 2021; Wilson et al., 2020).


Opioid Use Among the Elderly

Aging and pain are closely related entities (Duffort & Samaan, 2021). The elderly also suffer chronic conditions associated with pain that may need management using opioids, which may be abused and lead to adverse side effects such as low respiration (Shoff et al., 20201). It is, therefore, essential to prevent opioid overdose in this population.

Data on Opioid Overdose Among Older American Adults

Evidence indicates that older adults in the US have the highest opioid use rate. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHNES) 2006-2012 stated that opioid overdose case rates in older adults were 3.2%, with women more prone to opioid overdose than males by 2.3% (Land et al., 2021). 25.5% of long-term opioid users are at high risk of overdose (Mojtabai, 2017). The Agency for Health Research Quality (AHRQ) findings indicated that more than 4.9% of elderly adults had used opioids more than five times between 2018 and 2019 (AHRQ, 2022).

Benefits of Addressing the Opioid Overdose Issue Among the Elderly Population

Addressing the current opioid overdose issue among the elderly population in the US will promote good physician practices when prescribing opioids (Saini et al., 2022), reduce adverse side effects of opioid use and prevent opioid overdose-related deaths (Wilson et al., 2020).

Recommended Policies and Strategies to Address the Issue

Increasing Adherence to Evidence-Based Prescribing Practices

Lack of adherence to prescription practices is among the major causes of opioid use disorder in the US (AHRQ, 2020). Strict adherence to prescription guidelines will address opioid overdose and misuse among the elderly. Healthcare professionals can adopt the 2016 CDC guideline on managing pain while minimizing opioid prescription among older adults.

Introduction of Compulsory Education Policy

Education deficiency on opioid use and available options for pain management increase opioid use among the elderly. The CDC is an excellent educational resource that the healthcare system and healthcare practitioners can adopt to educate the elderly on the dangers of opioid over-prescription, drug misuse, and overuse.

Expanding Access to Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Elderly Patients

MAT combines medication with counseling for chronic pain management, minimizing opioid prescriptions. There are MAT services certified by federal laws, such as Hub-Spoke. Implementing the Hub-Spoke Model, as seen in Vermont’s successful case, can address opioid overdose by coordinating MAT services effectively (Filteau et al., 2022).


AHRQ. (2022, February 17). Agency for Health Research Quality. Retrieved from AHRQ-Opioids:

Dufort, A., & Samaan, Z. (2021). Problematic opioid use among older adults: epidemiology, adverse outcomes, and treatment considerations. Drugs & Aging, 1-11.

Filteau, M. R., Kim, F. L., & Green, B. (2022). “It’s more than just a job to them”: a qualitative examination of patient and provider perspectives on medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Community Mental Health Journal58(2), 321-327.

Hoopsick, R. A., Homish, G. G., & Leonard, K. E. (2021). Differences in opioid overdose mortality rates among middle-aged adults by race/ethnicity and sex, 1999-2018. Public Health Reports136(2), 192–200.

Land, M. E., Wetzel, M., Geller, R. J., Steck, A. R., & Grunwell, J. R. (2021). Adult opioid poisonings by drug, intent, and resource use from the United States National Poison Data System from 2005–2018. Clinical Toxicology59(2), 142-151.

Mojtabai, R. (2017). National trends in long‐term use of prescription opioids. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 27(5), 526-534s.

Shoff, C., Yang, T. C., & Shaw, B. A. (2021). Trends in opioid use disorder among older adults: analyzing medicare data, 2013–2018. American Journal of Preventive Medicine60(6), 850–855.

Wilson, N., Kariisa, M., Seth, P., Smith IV, H., & Davis, N. L. (2020). Drug and opioid-involved overdose deaths—United States, 2017–2018. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report69(11), 290.


The policy brief should include an engaging title that informs the reader immediately of the subject. A picture Is

allowed but not required. The brief itself should include:

1. Executive Summary or overview of the focused topic and any proposed action in legislation or regulation

a. (include bill number !f appllcabie)

b. Positioned at the head of the front page

c. Entices the reader to read further

2. Problem or topic statement

a. States why the problem Is important

b. States support or opposition to the stated problem

c. Gives overview and conclusions

3. Approaches/Results

a. Summary of facts

b. Description of issue and context

c. Facts, research findings

d. • Benefits/opportunities

4. Recommendations/implications for policy changes

a. What steps should be taken

b. Evidentiary support

5. Point(s) of contact in your organization

a. Recommended collaborations

b. Available resources are listed

Rubric Guide

Executive Summary: Solidifies the essence of the brief, provides a concise overview for busy readers, entices readers to go further, positioned on top of the front page.

Problem/Topic Statement/lntroduction: Answers the question of why the topic/problem is important, states the objective (calfs for vote In support or opposition), and gives an oven/iew of findings/conciusion.

Approaches/Results: Provides a summary of facts, describes issue and context, lists important facts, demographics, and research findings, highlights benefits/opportunities.

Impllcations/recommendattons of current/proposed legislation or regulatory changes: implications are what could happen, recommendations are what should happen.

support with evidence.

Point of contact/s, recommended collaborations, and available resources are listed.

Content: Focused on a single topic/issue, the purpose is defined, salient points support the aim, includes only essentiail information, limited to no more than 2 pages.

Layout/Presentation of Information: Titie attracts the reader, subtitle may be used, makes use of 2 or more layouts features (l.e. sidebar, caiiout, bulieted list, image [chart, photo, graphic]). The layout and content catches the readers’ eye, holds the readers’ attention, and is professional in appearance.


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