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Nursing – Healthy People 2020

Free «Nursing - Healthy People 2020» Essay Sample


Objective of Healthy People 2020 Related to Substance Abuse

Healthy People 2020 inspire the country to focus on its achievements and concentrate on the areas that need improvement in setting public health priorities. The strategy allows the nation to see the bigger picture in connection with various components of public health. The most important and effective areas are concentrated on improving healthcare literacy among the people. The aim of Healthy People 2020 is to motivate a community of new generation of health-minded individuals (Healthy People, 2015). The goal is to reduce the impact of substance abuse with the aim of protecting health, safety and quality of life to everyone, especially young children.

Purpose of the Paper

The main purpose of cur4rent assignment is to explore the initiatives of Healthy People 2020 in reducing the impact of substance abuse. The study also seeks to identify how professional nurses can contribute towards achieving such objectives.

Characteristic of the Population

Children and Adolescence

The issue of substance misuse has continued to be a serious problem and a health concern for all Americans regardless of the ages, gender or ethnicity. In 2006, the young people used the following substances for the first time: 7,900 drank alcohol, 4,300 took illicit drugs, 4,000 smoked cigars, while 2,500 used painkillers without prescription. The use of marijuana increased from 8th to 12th grade between 2009 and 2010. Abuse of cannabis was the highest among 12th grader in 1980s with a frequency rate of 6.1% in high school students. According to a research of Winters (2010), 14% of eighth grade students, 29% of tenth grade students and 40% of twelfth grade student took liquor the last month prior to the research. On average, the adolescent youths took 4.7 drinks on the days they drank. In high schools, prescribed medicine like painkillers and cold and cough medicines are other most abused drugs (Hedden, Martins and Malcolm, 2010).

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According to Healthy People 2020 (2015), 21.2% of people aged between 18 and 25 years had the highest prevalence rate of drug abuse among all age groups with 18% being marijuana. There was an increased number of adults dependent on alcohol. Most of them also reported consuming illicit brews and non-medical prescription drugs compared to others within the general population.


There are various social, environmental, biological, psychological and genetic factors that determine the individual’s association with drug abuse. Such factors can be based on gender, age, ethnicity, education level, income level and sexual orientation (Estren, 2013). In addition, sexual abuse is more often inclined by the interpersonal, domestic and social dynamics. In most cases, the influence of drug abuse among the youth is determined by the peer pressure and social network of family setup. For instance, research shows that exposure to marijuana through family members and friends was the main determinant of adolescent indulgence to its abuse. Understanding the causal factors can act as a major boost in reducing the incidence and prevalence rates of drug use and improve health and safety among the American public.

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Incidence Rates and Prevalence of Drug Abuse in the United States

Incidence rate of a given problem is the number of individuals or cases reported on the basis of whole population. Such rate is usually given as the number of cases per 100,000 persons. Incidence data provide the government and policy makers in monitoring the trends and influence patterns of drug abuse. The information helps in developing the necessary preventive strategies and identifies regional patterns of indulgence. Moreover, such data can be more valuable when categorized into gender, age group, ethnicity and risk factors causing drugs abuse.

According to the World Health Organization (2010), approximately 24 million Americans of post-teen ages were discovered to use illicit drugs. It represents approximately 9% of the population who have abused drugs or misused psychotherapeutic medications like pain killers, tranquilizers or stimulants. It is an increase of 1% in 10 years. The increase was mostly based with the use of cannabis and other common illicit drugs.

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In the last decade, the prevalence rate of other drugs use has remained constant over time. In 2012, 6.9 million Americans of age 12 and above had used psychotherapeutic drugs without clinical recommendation or in a manner not prescribed by a doctor. And 1.1 million people in the US were reported to have used hallucinogens, such as LSD and ecstasy one month prior to the study. The incidence rate of cocaine was reported to have reduced in the second half of the decade from 2.1 to 1.7 million. Reflecting on the emergence of substance abuse among the adolescence the MTF found that 19.6% of students in school had already attempted it in eighth grade, 34.1% had done it by 10th grade, while 47.4% did it in the 12th grade. In 2013, the deaths resulting from drug abuse amounted of 29,000 for alcohol induced deaths, while other illicit drugs combined total to 17,000 casualties (Estren, 2013). Such information represents a mortality rate of 0.54% and 1.3 % of death cases reported globally for people aged 12-64 years. Such trends reflect the universal findings showing that drug usage among the adolescents and adults increases to adulthood and then drops gradually.

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Drug Abuse Interventions

Primary Interventions

Such interventions are the strategies that have been used by the Healthy People 2020. They involve addressing psychoactive substances among teenagers. Adolescents are usually faced with a complex problem that involves emotional change tasked with development of personal identity (World Health Organisation, 2010). Such individuals need someone to advise them on their concerns in addition to parental guidance, as the peer pressure can lead to their involvement in taking psychoactive substances.

Secondary Interventions

They involve developing prevention programs across interrelated continuum of services, such as treatment. By focusing on alcohol and other drugs, secondary intervention involves early detection and reduction of drug problems. The most effective strategies that can be employed by healthcare providers include mass screening of students to identify those who are already involved in drugs usage and commence treatment and counseling programs to all of them.

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Tertiary Interventions

In contrast to secondary intervention that involves early detection and treatment, tertiary intervention is concerned with preventing advanced deterioration. It also helps in reducing the problems associated with disorder or addiction. For instance, the healthcare program that can be introduced to drug users is providing antidote or sending the victims to rehabilitation programs. Registered nurses are in the first line of care in dealing with people experiencing the effects of drug and illegal substance abuse. In this case, the nurses can contribute towards reduction of the menace by raising questions and issues to make impact on the care itself. Harm reduction is one of the goals of public health professional and it is the duty of the nurses involved to reduce the danger of illegal drugs. However, it is only a partial approach in dealing with health disparities related to drug abuse.

Identified Successful Interventions

The most popular intervention strategies are based on increasing factors that are customized towards reducing dysfunctions and strengthening the aspects of family life and nurturing behaviors. In order to have effective prevention measures, social and individual needs have to be analyzed. Thus, the approach has to consider cultural disparities, socio-economic factors of the families, communication modes and other aspects of social dynamics.

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Due to the increased incidence and prevalence of drug abuse among the adolescent youth there is a need to provide healthcare intervention at this level. The main recommendation is that the independent Drug Abuse Council should be established in order to fill the leadership gap that exists in the field of drug abuse. Such endeavor should be preferably undertaken as a joint venture of private foundations and organizations.

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