Mental Health and Drug Abuse

Mental health and drug abuse is a huge problem in the American society. Mentally challenged people are more likely to become victims of that abuse than those of stable mental health. Escaping from reality may be seductive, but it creates even more problems for a patient and healthcare workers. Law system provides legislative background for nurses and physicians to work with people. In some cases, it might even limit the rights of a nurse; for example, by preventing them of treating people who do not want to be treated. It is a job of a healthcare worker to actually care, but every person has basic human rights, and treating someone against their will is a violation of those rights.

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Mental health is crucial to every person since a human being cannot function properly without a ‘clear head’. However, many mental health facilities are facing problems and cannot provide proper treatment for youth in poverty. Numbers say, that only “…3% to 8% of patients are covered by Medicaid for care provided by psychiatrists…” (Cummings, Wen, & Druss, 2013, p. 553). The schools are not able to offer professional care to the youth, so they go to drug dealers for help. Such types of problems are supposed to be dealt with by the state or government legislations. Nevertheless, research shows that some of the problem still cannot be addressed.

Nowadays, there are not a lot of facilities for mental healthcare of adolescences, at least one for a county. The mental health facilities mostly provide medical care for young people with less severe issues, as they do not require additional sources to treat them (Cummings et al., 2013, p. 554). It creates a big problem for anyone else with more serious issues, as those youngsters have to find their own sources to address their condition. Healthcare is not supposed to work like that in such a big country as the United States of America. Law system has to include the resolution of those issues. A mentally healthy society can work better than the mentally ill or drug abusive one.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented in 2010 by Barack Obama, and now, it is called Obamacare. ACA is covering groups of people who have problems with mental health or drugs (Beronio, Glied, Po, & Skopec, 2013, p. 1). Numbers are growing, and people are getting professional help with covered costs from the government. However, there are still regulations to be addressed in the law system of the medical care. Some of them include issues with medical practitioners as well as healthcare rules. Every medical worker considers treating patients as his or her duty, regardless of a patient’s will.

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Nurses are the main element of the system since they constantly communicate with patients and can strongly effect their state of mind. Nurses have the power over mentally ill people; they can influence their choices in treatment. In this way, in 2017, the 29th annual report was published, thus covering the successes of APRN’s new legislations implementation (Phillips, 2017). The document includes information about 16 states, including Arizona and Florida. In Arizona, for example, the medical practitioner must have a medical report from a patient’s drug usage in the last twelve months before assigning any opioids. It is a measure to prevent people from using even more drugs and secure a practitioner from the accusation of subscribing drugs to an addict.

At the same time, in Arizona patients can be admitted to healthcare facilities and discharged by the medical practitioner. The people can be sent to another medical worker if the current one does not seem to be qualified enough to treat the issue “without any agreements between patient and worker” (Phillips, 2017). It gives a lot of opportunities to the workers not to treat patients. As a result, a patient cannot even sue the healthcare worker since there is no legal documentation of an agreement. At the same time, the APRNs must have proper education, such as “a graduate degree in nursing and national board certification in their focus area to enter into practice” (Phillips, 2017). In this way, medical workers have to be certified before they do the treatment.

Florida has developed legislations about controlled substance prescription. Such laws control limitations over substances and their doses (Phillips, 2017). It can allow to avoid medical workers prescribing drugs to the addicted patients and, at the same time, saving APRNs from wrong prescriptions accusations. The policy secures patients from unscrupulous healthcare workers who can seriously damage hurt the community by providing unhelpful treatment. Within those legislations, the medical workers should also perform constant education, including the control over prescription lessons. In Florida, Master’s degrees are required to work as APRN.

It is known that nurses can actually help to reverse public crisis as drug abuse, which is common problem in a lot of countries. Strict policies that has been mentioned before show that their job has meaning in the eyes of a patient. Nurses are seen as “trusted patient and family educators” since they are connecting the physicians with the patients (Manworren & Gilson, 2015, p. 36). APRNs have the power to follow the laws and, by that, reduce the drug usage by simply helping people with mental issues. Such specialists can teach patients about the risks of drug usage as well as write prescriptions with a right amount of opioid and other controlled substances. In Arizona, nurses can follow medical records of a patient for the last year, thus controlling at least medical drug usage.

In that way, APRNs are the carriers of the policy, as it is in their power to try to reduce drug issue. Even if the state cannot afford medical facilities for mentally ill people, the nurses can educate them about the consequences of their choice. APRNs deliver the execution of the law by helping in controlling the lives of the neighborhoods. People usually trust nurses who take care of them but not the physicians who bring bed news in a face of a diagnose. However, a hospital is a small and close area where the nurses can affect the patients. Nurses can educate other members of the community on how to live the healthy life and avoid substance abuse.

If the nurses create educational courses for teachers in schools, for example, where different methods of influence would be developed, teachers might have a chance to succeed in educating youth about drug abuse. Creating a trusting environment where any child or teenager can come to a teacher for help with mental issues or drug problems is far more realistic than the one where he or she comes to a nurse. Additional forces can give a hand on reduction of drug abuse as well as untreated patients with mental illnesses. Educating patients and their families is as important as educating of interprofessional team to help.

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The consent of a patient is another problem to the matter. No person should be treated if he or she does not agree to take that treatment. However, the problem lies deeper than that. Getting the patient’s permission is not always a secure way to treat him or her. As Wexler (2013, p. 242) says, “…even if informed consent were given by such a patient, it might soon be revoked.” In this way, a patient can take his words back. A patient is like a client in the commercial relationships who is always right. Such person can sue the nurse for not doing like he or she said even if the nurse did exactly like they said.

In conclusion, the uncontrolled drug abuse off mentally ill people is a common issue in the USA. The law system tries to fight with it with the help of medical workers, such as nurses. The APRN has a great impact on the patients, but they would have even a bigger one if they include more people in the process by creating the interprofessional teams. Policies that are created and developed by the government help contain the levels of drug abused people. A lot of mentally ill individuals use drugs to escape from reality, and nurses could stop it. Mental health problems are important in the way that the persons cannot properly function without mental health, and medical facilities do not want to deal with those persons.

The laws have a lot of drawbacks that are yet to be fixed. It is important for medical workers to find those cons and help legislators to reduce them. Mental health and drug abuse became one combined problem that can be fixed only by the means of mutual collaboration. Nurses have law limitations as well, and they have to obey. Otherwise, the legal medical system would collapse. The medical practitioners have to be educated, so they can enlighten others and take care of the patients properly. Working together helps face the issues of health problems; healthcare workers are supposed to care and assist those in need, such as drug addicts and people with mental illnesses.


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