Controlled Substance Act of 1970
As a senior nursing student, I have witnessed the effects of misuse of medications and what it can do to a persons’ life. I have seen in the hospital patients that are there due to overdose, and were near death row. Little mistakes can put someone in the edge of life and death and being so close to a personal death developed an interest in this case. My friend Natalie has been a great friend since the beginning of nursing school. My dear Natalie has suffered since young of fibromyalgia, a condition that makes the bones and joints of the body ache making the pain excruciating, unbearable and debilitating . When the weather changes specially in the winter, I remember Natalie complaining all day long about her pain and pulling and popping her pain killers. Having a rigid course load at TCU’s Nursing Program, it was very difficult to keep taking medications that relieved pain, but left her with drowsiness that did not allow her to concentrate during classes. Taking the pain medication was an everyday routine, Natalie had surgery on her right knee due to a fall back in 2009. The surgery was successful, but the needs for pain killers never ceased, on the opposite, she had to take additional doses while she was in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) the unit where all patients recover at. The fibromyalgia increased her nerve sensitivity to pain so Natalie was in higher need for pain management before she could get discharged. After long 24 hours her pain was finally under control and we were able to take her home. Before her surgery we talked about playing nurse, we had just begun nursing school so we wanted to feel like real nurses and take care of a real patient. She kindly asked me to take care of her while she felt a little better. At the time I was living in Dallas and her surgery was in Dallas as well. Natalie’s parents lived in Abilene during the summer and at the time of the surgery their home in Fort Worth was under renovation, so it was only feasible to have her in my apartment and I agreed immediately. The drive to Abilene would have meant sitting down for two hours and that was going to put her at risk for more pain.
We arrived to my apartment and with the help of her parents she was able to get settled in my room. We were exited to be together and really put our skills in practice. After a little while she started complaining of pain, pain that would not go away even after I gave her the strongest narcotic on her medication list. She begged me for more and I told her to give the medication sometime to work, and we did. An hour later Natalie was knocked out in the sofa, sleeping comfortably. Later that day, the pain returned and it was much stronger. I gave her her routine medications, and an additional 10mg oxycontin which is a very potent pain killer. The doctor suggested this medication PRN- as needed- for severe pain. I told her I was going to run to the pharmacy and get her some hot and cold presses for her knee, as she agreed that she was going to be fine. I came back to the apartment, and I started fixing the hot presses for Natalie’s knee as I am asking her questions such as: How is your pain, are you hungry, and immediately I noticed she was drowsy, confused and unable to formulate words. I approach her and I see that her eyes are looking to the back of the room, and I suspected that she was suffering of overdosed. I count the pills on the bottle of oxycontin and I realize that there is one pill missing, I asker if she took another pill while I was gone and she nods agreeing that she indeed did. I immediately call her parent who happen to be in the area, and we quickly rush her to the ER. The doctors furiously interviewed me and asked me many times about all the medications I had given her. I pulled out the piece of paper where I had all the scribbles of the medications I had given her, along with the times given and the food she had ingested. The head doctor realized that for her weight the dose of oxycontin prescription was too high (otherwise who knows what would have happened to me) and they start an IV containing Narcan, which is a strong medication to counteract the overdose of an opioid. After a couple hours Natalie finally recovered her conscious and the doctors said that she was a pill, a drink and an hour away from dying if we had not bring her to the hospital. All due to a medication error, myself leaving the pills at her reach when she was not capable of making coherent decisions (because pain rules) and taking more than her prescribed dose, could have changed our lives forever.
The use of narcotics and opioids in The United States has been the ongoing treatment in many of the medical facilities where Health care providers see and treat chronic and acute pain. Being responsible for the loss of the mobility and much of the disabilities of many Americans that are affected by many medical conditions, the use of narcotics becomes of high necessity in the vulnerable population, the ill and the ones in search to maintain a strategy for normal standard of health. Despite all the efforts that the US laws have placed on the regulations of controlled substances, there is still an issue with substance abuse, and potential users experiencing detrimental side effects from addiction. These policies remain to me of high personal interest, because daily, we continue to see many adverse effects and sentinel results in the health of patients either in their homes or in the hospitals. The accessibility of many of these controlled substances proposes a big threat if not strictly regulated. The interest of this topic arose with these questions: How do we regulate the legal use of controlled substances, and under what basis do we determine its safety, the population that merits its use and those who do not.