Policy Paper Drug seeking in the ER

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Sacred Heart University
NU 501 - Health Care Policy and Ethics

Policy Paper
Reducing and Preventing Drug Seeking Behavior in the Emergency Department

November 28, 2012

Problem identification
“Drug seeking” in the emergency department is a serious social and health problem in the United States today. Abuse and exploitation of controlled prescription medication is a significant and growing problem on a daily basis, especially for the emergency room staff. This is a difficult healthcare issue and the goal is to try to reduce potential damages while still addressing legitimate medical needs of these challenging patients. I would at first like to define several terms for the purposes of this paper. “Drug seeker” or “drug seeking (behavior)” are phrases commonly used in common medical lingo and have several definitions. According to a medical dictionary, “ A drug seeker - a person who seeks narcotic agents from a physician or other licensed prescriber, either for personal use or to sell.” (Drug seeker, 2012) Drug seeking patients often present with conditions that are difficult to evaluate and easily feigned, such as headache, back pain, and dental pain. In addition, I would like to define a phrase “controlled medication seeking” as: intentionally faking or amplifying a medical condition, using deception (example prescription tempering) to obtain a controlled medication. Controlled medications are classified as schedule (classification) I-IV by The Controlled Substances Act (CSA). “The CSA is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain substances is regulated.” (Controlled Substances Act, 2012) The foundation for the regulation is to attempt to prevent the danger of addiction, abuse, physical and mental harm, the illegal distribution of them, and the risks from actions of those who have used these substances. As healthcare providers we are...
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