Year of Publication

2019

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Teresa Waters

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Ingram

Committee Member

Dr. Hefei Wen

Abstract

Background: In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) coined the phrase, “opioid epidemic” in response to the staggering increase in opioid use and opioid- related deaths. Kentucky House Bill 1 (HB1) passed in 2012, attempted to stifle the impact of the opioid epidemic on the citizens of the Commonwealth by imposing supply-side restrictions on the prescription and dispensing of opioid pills. Objective: The primary objective of this analysis is to evaluate the effectiveness of HB1 on the reduction of opioid-related deaths, opioid prescription rates, and intravenous opioid drug use rates. Methods: This analysis employed Eugene Bardach’s framework for policy analysis- the Eightfold Path, to systematically assess the policy and other options at that time. Results: After HB1 a decrease in the rate of opioid prescriptions in Kentucky was observed. However, the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths increased. Discussion/Recommendation: Supply-side restrictions on opioid pills may lead to the unintended consequence of diversion to intravenous opioid abuse, which carries even greater public health implications. Comprehensive policy should include both supply-side regulations as well as provisions for treatment and recovery for those suffering from addiction.

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