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Research Policy brief. 2,000 words. on curbing opioids. Please see attached professor reference.

POLICY BRIEF TOOLKIT
A guide for researchers on writing policy briefs
Table of Contents
Table of Contents ——————————————————————————————————————————————1
Know your Audience ————————————————————————————————————————————–2
Writing Preparation —————————————————————————————————————————————3
Structure of Policy Briefs ———————————————————————————————————————————4
Introduction ————————————————————————————————————————————————-5
Background ————————————————————————————————————————————————–6
Methods —————————————————————————————————————————————————–6
Results ——————————————————————————————————————————————————–7
Conclusion —————————————————————————————————————————————————7
Writing Style Tips ——————————————————————————————————————————————9
Example Policy Briefs———————————————————————————————————————————— 10
Additional Resources ———————————————————————————————————————————— 10
References ————————————————————————————————————————————————- 11
1
Overview
Researchers are often not familiar with how to disseminate their findings to policymakers; however, there is an important
place for research in the policymaking process. “Health services research when appropriately funded, coordinated and
disseminated plays a critical role in addressing problems related to the nations’ health care system,” according to the
Coalition for Health Services Research.1 Some even argue that findings need to be communicated effectively to
policymakers and other health care stakeholders to maximize the return on public investment in research.2
Policy briefs can be an effective dissemination tool especially when targeting non-expert readers who rely on the
credibility of the authors.3 Briefs should be focused and written in an easy-to-read, objective format. Policy briefs conclude
with an evidence-based policy recommendation; although, recommendations should not extend beyond the evidence.4
Know your Audience
Researchers must first identify and understand their audience. Below are things to remember about policymakers.5
Generalists that do not
understand technical research
language
Prefer short, to-thepoint products
Work on a 2-4 year
election cycle
Want information that
is relevant to current
policy debates
Want clear,
unambiguous
answers
Responsive to constituents
and particular advocacy
groups
Interested in population trends,
economic consequences, and
programs’ effectiveness
2
Writing Preparation
It is helpful to outline the key objective and arguments before writing. The below guide can be used for the preparation
process.4
• What is the issue or problem?
• Why is it important?
• Who is impacted and who cares?
Define the • Be specific to the audience of your brief and clearly frame the issue for them.
Problem
State the
Policy
Make your
Case
• Identify specific policy action(s) that will address the problem
• If possible, try to pick one policy action and go into depth in the policy brief
• Identify key findings that will explain the issue and capture the attention of readers
• Find or create relevant figures, tables, etc.
• Review implications of policy action and inaction
• Determine pros and cons of the policy
• Consider uninteded consequences
Discuss the • Address opposing arguments
Impact
3
Structure of Policy Briefs
Below is the general outline of sections that are included in a policy brief. More details and examples of each section are
included in the next pages of toolkit.
Introduction or Purpose
Key Findings
Background
Methods
Results
Conclusion and Policy
Recommendations
4
Introduction
State the purpose of the brief and give the reader an understanding of the issue’s importance and urgency.
A bulleted list of key findings may also help capture interest at the beginning of the policy brief.
Source: Clips from Barker, A. et al. (2017). “Changing Rural and Urban Enrollment in State Medicaid Programs.” RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy
Analysis. No. 2017-2. Retrieved from http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/rupri/publications/policybriefs/2017/Changing%20Rural%20and%20Urban
%20Enrollment%20in%20State%20Medicaid%20Programs.pdf
5
Background
Add context and/or history that is needed in order to understand the issue that is detailed in the remaining policy brief.
Methods
Briefly describe the methods and data sources that are used for the analysis. Typically, complex data analysis methods
should not be used in policy briefs as the audience will likely not be familiar with those techniques. If your journal article
uses complex methodology such as multivariate regression, use the most significant variables to create 2-dimensional
charts or graphs.
6
Results
Strategically utilize visuals such as graphs, charts, and maps to display research findings. Whenever possible, include
results and implications for local areas (states, counties, congressional districts, etc.) that are relevant for the audience.
7
Conclusion
Conclude the policy brief by reiterating the most important findings and interpret the “real-world” meaning behind them.
State policy recommendations that are supported by the research findings and include rebuttals to anticipated arguments
against the recommendation.
8
Writing Style Tips
Use well-written titles
that reflect key takeaways
and entice readers to
continue.
Explore using sidebars,
text boxes, bullet points,
numbered lists to
improve readability.
Do not write as though
the policy brief is the
same as a mini journal
article.
Write in the third person.
Consider adding a
personal story to
supplement research
findings and capture the
policymaker’s interest.
Use lay language. Do not
use jargon or scientific
terms.
Avoid superfluous
pictures.
Don’t be too heavyhanded. Opt for words
like “may, might” etc.
Be concise. Briefs for
legislators should be no
more than 2 pages and
others no more than 4
pages.
Include references and
sources for additional
information.
Include contact
information for authors
as well as website for
future publications.
9
Example Policy Briefs
ï‚· Center for Health Economics and Policy https://publichealth.wustl.edu/health-economics/policy-briefs/
ï‚· Health Affairs http://www.healthaffairs.org/healthpolicybriefs/
ï‚· Kaiser Family Foundation http://kff.org/search/issuebriefs
ï‚· Urban Institute https://www.urban.org/policy-centers/health-policy-center/publications
ï‚· RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis http://www.publichealth.uiowa.edu/rupri/publications/policybriefs.html
Additional Resources
ï‚· Center for Health Economics and Policy is available to help researchers develop their policy briefs.
 Research to Action, “How to Plan, Write and Communicate an Effective Policy Brief: Three Steps to Success.”
https://www.researchtoaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/PBWeekLauraFCfinal.pdf
 Rural Health Research Gateway, “Dissemination of Rural Health Research: A Toolkit.”
https://www.ruralhealthresearch.org/toolkit
10
References
1
AcademyHealth. Placement, Coordination, Funding of Health Services Research within the Federal Government. AcademyHealth
report. Washington, DC: AcademyHealth; 2005.
2 Grande, D. et al. (2014). “Translating Research for Health Policy: Researchers’ Perceptions and Use of Social Media.” Health Affairs,
33(7). doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0300
3 Masset, E. et al. (2013). “What is the Impact of a Policy Brief? Results of an Experiment in Research Dissemination.” Journal of
Development Effectiveness, 5(1). doi: 10.1080/19439342.2012.759257
4 Wong, S., Green and Bazemore. (December 2016). “How to Write a Health Policy Brief.” American Psychological Association, 35(1).
doi: 10.1037/fsh0000238
5 Zervigon-Hakes AM. (1995). “Translating Research Findings into Large-Scale Public Programs and Policy.” The Future of Children, 5(3).
doi: 10.2307/1602374
6 Barker, A. et al. (2017). “Changing Rural and Urban Enrollment in State Medicaid Programs.” RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy
Analysis. No. 2017-2. Retrieved from http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/rupri/publications/policybriefs/2017/
Changing%20Rural%20and%20Urban %20Enrollment%20in%20State%20Medicaid%20Programs.pdf
11
Literature Review
Lyndsey Jones
Dr. Pilkington
March 28, 2021
Curbing Prescription Analgesics & Opioids Overdose
Opioids belong to a class of drugs that are generally used to minimize pain. Opioid drugs
include heroin, oxycodone, codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone1. These drugs are
classified under prescription drugs with numerous restrictions on dispensation due to their high
level of addiction. In the united states, the use of prescription OPIOIDs and analgesic drugs has
increased drastically over the past two decades to an alarming 209.5 million. Unintended and
accidental deaths have had four times increment within the same time. OPIOID and analgesic
overdose has become the leading cause of deaths related to drug overdose surpassing cocaine and
heroin. Prescription opioid drugs account for about three-quarters of the drug-related overdose
deaths accounting for about 12 deaths per 100,000 population in the united states.
While most opioids are prescribed as pain relievers for chronic pain or palliative care,
such as for cancer patients, there has been a growing misuse and a rise in opioid-related
addiction and overdose. The main driver of this opioid dependency epidemic is the over
prescription of these drugs by a healthcare practitioner for chronic pain that is not related to
cancer or palliative care2. Most high-income countries, including the United States and the
United Kingdom, have increased their prescription of an opioid to patients with chronic pain for
prolonged periods. While these healthcare practitioners understand the risks associated with
1
Bohnert AS, Valenstein M, Bair MJ, et al. Association between opioid prescribing patterns and
opioid overdose-related deaths. JAMA. 2011;305(13):1315-1321.
2
Dowell D, Haegerich T, and Chou R. CDC guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain—
United States, 2016. JAMA. 315.15 (2016): 1624-1645.
opioid drugs and addiction, they overestimate and oversell their benefits. Most physicians rarely
consider other analgesic alternatives that are available.
The most appropriate intervention by healthcare practitioners to curb this epidemic is by
using evidence-based alternatives to manage pain. Instead of prescribing opioids as first-line pain
management drugs, physicians should seek other less dangerous and less addictive drugs. When
prescribing opioids is indicated, the healthcare practitioner should perform patient education and
ensure that the patient is fully aware of the risks involved when taking the drug for prolonged
periods3. The physician should begin prescription at the lowest dosage possible and avoid
reaching the maximum dosage or prescribing past a specific time range. The more appropriate
solution lies within the healthcare institution where health practitioners can sensitize and educate
patients on the risk factors involved. Health practitioners should strive to do more than treat
patients and prescribe pills. The physicians should also conduct a risk assessment to determine
the individual’s likelihood of getting addicted to opioids.
To reduce the abuse of opioid drugs and prevent accidental drugs due to opioid overdose,
there is a need for public health institutions to develop policies that advocate for prescription
drug monitoring using electronic databases4. The electronic prescription drug monitoring
programs should collect all relevant data regarding schedule two, three, and four prescriptions on
3
Benzodiazepines and Opioids. National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://
www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids. Last updated March 2018.
Accessed August 27, 2019.
4
Sun E, Dixit A, Humphreys K, et al. Association between concurrent use of prescription
opioids and benzodiazepines and overdose: retrospective analysis. BMJ. 356 (2017): j760.
controlled substances and their dispensation within the last six months, including the name of the
drug, dosage, quantity, and length of prescription. The data should also include the date of
prescription and the name of the prescribing physician, and their title. Using this data, the
prescription may be limited from buying the same drug from various outlets or providers. With
the electronic database, it is easy to identify repeat refills of prescription; hence, it enables
unauthorized refills. All opioid drugs covered in the system include oxycodone, morphine,
tapentadol, methadone, codeine, butorphanol, tramadol, fentanyl, hydrocodone hydromorphone.
Additionally, all physicians will be required to check the prescription drug monitoring
database before making any opioid-related prescriptions. This will be used in conjunction with
the iSTOP program, which will be particularly useful for practitioners attending to new patients.
Seeing as the prescribers may lack the patient’s complete medical history, such as prescriptions
made in the emergency room or dentist office, using the database will enable them to see which
drugs have already been prescribed and if a similar opioid prescription has already been
dispensed5. Both programs will help healthcare practitioners to root out drug seekers and
therefore prevent prescription of opioids to these individuals who may already be addicted. The
prevention program has been in place for several years, but it is mainly used on a voluntary
basis. This has hindered its full effect as it is used inconsistently. Public health systems should
now push for policies that make the use of these programs in all healthcare systems6. All drug
5
Dunn KM, Saunders KW, Rutter CM, et al. Opioid prescriptions for chronic pain and overdose:
a cohort study. Ann Intern Med. 2010; 152(2):85-92.
6
Dunn KM, Saunders KW, Rutter CM, et al. Opioid prescriptions for chronic pain and overdose:
a cohort study. Ann Intern Med. 2010; 152(2):85-92.
dispensing outlets should be required to consult with iSTOP and the prescription drug prevention
program before prescribing or dispensing opioid drugs.
Proposal for Position Paper
Lyndsey Jones
March 21, 2021
Dr. William Pilkington
Proposal
The center for disease control and prevention (CDC) exemplifies prescription drug overdose as a
pandemic. Particularly, fatalities occasioned by drug poisoning have been on an upward
trajectory in the U.S. in the recent past. Drug poisoning deaths between 1980 and 2008 alone
ranges between 6,100 to 36,500 persons annually.1 The CDC links the spiraling mortality rates to
an abrupt surge in unintended overdoses concerning prescription opioid analgesics. These
analgesics incorporate methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Cases of unintended
prescription drug overdoses are on the rise in the recent past. The Office of National Drug
Control Policy recognizes with great concern that prescription drug abuse has caused a global
health crisis of drug overdose deaths. The rising cruelty of opioid overdose pandemic requires a
swift public health intervention to forestall the rising number of fatalities. A multidisciplinary
strategy involving federal agencies, public health officials, and policymakers is the key to
prescription drug overdose mortalities. Poor regulation and follow-up of already proposed
mitigation measures can be cited as the root cause of this epidemic2. I recommend introducing
and implementing a system of electronic prescription, which will be critical in monitoring the
distribution, sales, and usage of all analgesics and opioids. Being in the frontline of all drug
regulation boards gives you the authority and mandate to ensure the implementation of such a
policy since it is evident that this epidemic needs to be put to check before it worsens in the
country.
“CDC Grand Rounds: Prescription Drug Overdoses — A U.S. Epidemic”. 2012. Cdc.Gov.
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6101a3.htm.
1
2
Phillips, Jonathan K., Morgan A. Ford, Richard J. Bonnie, and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and
Medicine. “Trends in opioid use, harms, and treatment.” In Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic: Balancing
Societal and Individual Benefits and Risks of Prescription Opioid Use. National Academies Press (U.S.), 2017.
MEMORANDUM
To: Director of the National Institutes of Health
Subject: Policy on Curbing Prescription Analgesics & Opioids Overdose
From: Lyndsey Jones
Date: March 16, 2021
Abstract
In my previous memo, I notified you of the looming epidemic of drug poisoning in the United
States caused by overdoses on prescription opioids and analgesics. Poor regulation and follow-up
of already proposed mitigation measures can be cited as the root cause of this epidemic1. I
recommend introducing and implementing a system of electronic prescription, which will be
critical in monitoring the distribution, sales, and usage of all analgesics and opioids. Being in the
frontline of all drug regulation boards gives you the authority and mandate to ensure the
implementation of such a policy since it is evident that this epidemic needs to be put to check
before it worsens in the country.
Supporters
The Association of American Physician Specialists (AAPS) is one of the interest groups that may
render support to this reform because an online e-prescription database would provide all doctors
with various patients medical and drug use history, thereby ensuring that they do not prescribe
these drugs to potential or repeat drug abusers. The American Pharmacists Association (APhA)
is another group that may support this reform because it would ensure that they do not refill
prescriptions to potential abusers2. Pharmacists will avoid lawsuits emanating from drug-related
deaths caused by overdoses by drugs they sold. The pharmacists may also support this reform
because it will provide them with a platform to blacklist patients who seem to misuse
prescriptions and prevent them from buying anywhere. Implementation of this reform will
improve the general public’s faith in your organization’s work and potentially increase
government funding for your activities.
Opponents
One of the major groups that may be opposed to this reform is the conglomeration of
pharmaceutical companies popularly known as “Big Pharma.” If the reform were to be
implemented, it would lead to decreased subscriptions, which would translate into fewer sales
and thus decreased profits for them. Medical representatives and salespeople may also oppose
1
Phillips, Jonathan K., Morgan A. Ford, Richard J. Bonnie, and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and
Medicine. “Trends in opioid use, harms, and treatment.” In Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic: Balancing
Societal and Individual Benefits and Risks of Prescription Opioid Use. National Academies Press (U.S.), 2017.
“CDC Grand Rounds: Prescription Drug Overdoses — A U.S. Epidemic”. 2012. Cdc.Gov.
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6101a3.htm.
2
MEMORANDUM TWO
2
this reform as it might affect their livelihood and income source3. Activists for immigration
rights may also be opposed to this reform since it would potentially restrict access to
undocumented immigrants’ prescription drugs. “Big Pharma” funds numerous politicians’
campaigns, including senators and congressmen/women, and they might use the politicians to
hinder the implementation of this reform. On the other hand, activists hold sway in the court of
public opinion, and they might play along with the narrative of discrimination of immigrants to
hinder this reform.
Groups
The Veterans Association of America is a major interest group that may not have a clear position
on this reform. The Veterans Association provides different services to discharged army officers.
Recent statistics showing the increase in veterans’ deaths from overdosing on opioids, which they
use as a coping mechanism to escape PTSD, may be used to convince them of the importance of
implementing this reform4. The Veterans Association will be assured of assistance to veterans
who display signs of opioids addiction to ensure they throw their weight behind this reform.
Other Issues
Procedural considerations, including time taken for approval of the reform by relevant authorities
and the total cost of establishing such a complex framework, should be thoroughly accounted for
to ensure successful adoption of the reform5. Guarantees of proper technology that ensures data
security of all patients’ information is also another issue that has to be considered and assured for
the reform to be adopted.
3
“Policy Statements and Advocacy”. 2012. Apha.Org. https://www.apha.org/policies-and-advocacy.
4
Martins, Silvia S., Laura Sampson, Magdalena Cerdá, and Sandro Galea. “Worldwide Prevalence and
Trends in Unintentional Drug Overdose: A Systematic Review of the Literature.” Health 105 (2015): e29e49.
5
Phillips, Jonathan K., Morgan A. Ford, Richard J. Bonnie, and National Academies of Sciences,
Engineering, and Medicine. “Trends in opioid use, harms, and treatment.” In Pain Management and the
Opioid Epidemic: Balancing Societal and Individual Benefits and Risks of Prescription Opioid Use.
National Academies Press (U.S.), 2017.

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