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NURS 6050 Discussion: Presidential Agendas

Discussion: Presidential Agendas

Health care policies and procedures are essential in providing clarity and guidance to providers and are critical to the safety and wellbeing of patients. Although many policies cannot be disputed, the way health care providers manage them can be. In this week’s discussion post, I will consider a topic that rises to the presidential level and discuss how the current and previous presidents have handled the issue. Furthermore, I will discuss what I would do differently to help improve the outcome of their policy decisions.

Drug addiction is an issue that has been significantly increasing in the United States and worldwide. From May 2020 through April 2021, more than 100,000 people have died from drug overdoses in the United States. This new alarming statistic is nearly 30% higher from the same timeframe a year earlier and has doubled over the past five years (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). In 2020, President Trump declared a war on drugs focusing on opioid addiction (The White House, 2020).  It was at this time The United States started to realize the significant increase in drug use over the past several years. There are many reasons doctors, researchers, and counselors believe the opioid crisis has increased in the United States throughout the last decade. Perhaps the most obvious explanation is the increase in opioid prescriptions, which may be used as a gateway drug to heroin abuse and addiction.

In March of 2020, Coronavirus (COVID-19) caused most of the United States to shut down. People were unable to go to work, school, stores, restaurants, and other places of entertainment were closed. Doctors were encouraging virtual appointments, and all unnecessary medical procedures were canceled. The shutdown was highly detrimental to recovering addicts as many communities implemented online meetings during the shutdown and discontinued in-person groups (Monley & Lies, 2021, p. 35). Although speaking online with a sponsor may work for some, this method might be inaccessible for many individuals. Having only virtual connections leaves many people feeling isolated and alone, leading them back into addiction. People who have recovered from substance abuse are finding it challenging and difficult to maintain sobriety when their routine is disrupted (Volkow 2020, p. 44). Since people with addiction are facing an extremely hard time accessing in-person meetings, they are more prone to relapse. COVID-19 and addiction are two pandemics on the brink of collision, which pose a significant public health threat.

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Past President Approaches

President Donald Trump was in office when COVID-19 started, and although the shutdown occurred at the state level, he was the driving force behind this mandate. The federal policy guidelines recommended against large group gatherings and urged people to stay home (The White House, 2020). In-person meetings are the cornerstone of treatment, and it is recommended in the beginning that people attend a meeting every day for 90 days (Columb, Hussain, & O’Gara, 2020, p. 165). People who have been living a sober life still go to meetings multiple times a week. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings remained open during 9/11 and on holidays. These meetings are a key to survival for addicts and need to stay open as essential medical care. President Trump encouraged members of AA and NA to attend virtual appointments and allocated money to help set virtual programs up.

NURS 6050 Discussion: Presidential Agendas

Current President Approaches


President Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20, 2021. President Biden continued with implementing strict guidelines and discouraging companies and organizations from having any meetings or gatherings. Therefore, AA/NA in-person meetings continued to be put on hold, and individuals continued to struggle with their routine being uprooted and little support being offered. In addition, detox centers saw an influx of patients who had relapsed due to social isolation related to COVID. Finally, on August 1, 2021, all AA/NA meetings were able to reopen with strict protocols in place. At this time, AA/NA meetings are being held and welcoming new members.


What could be done differently


All the Presidential Administrations have wanted to protect Americans but working as a psychiatric nurse, I have seen numerous recovering addicts relapse. I strongly believe there could have been a way to continue providing the care they needed even during the height of the pandemic and shutdown. I understand the reasons behind the national shutdown, but I believe recovering addicts were set up for failure. Allowing in-person meetings with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing guidelines should have been acceptable. As medical providers, it is our job to let drug addicts and people in recovery know they are not alone and that others care about their health and wellbeing.

In conclusion, policies are written to set standards and provide guidance, consistency, and accountability for the organization. We as healthcare providers need to follow the standards set before us while ensuring our voices are still heard. Medical federal agendas are always going to follow what they feel is at the best interest of all Americans. One of the greatest abilities nurses have is the chance to be a part of future changes in healthcare. It is our job to help shape healthcare for the greater good of America.



American Psychological Association (2021). Responsible Conduct of Research. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/research


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Drug addiction and statistics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/featured-topics/treatment-recovery.html


Columb, D., Hussain, R., & O’Gara, C. (2020). Addiction psychiatry and COVID-19: impact on patients and service provision. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 37(3), 165-171. doi.org/45.23456/jop.4

Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed.). Jonest and Barlett Learning .

Monley, C. M., & Lies, B. S. (2021). Providing addiction services during a pandemic: Lessons learned from COVID-19. J Subst Abuse Treat, 21(3), 34–39. doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2020.108156

The White House. (2020). The COVID plan. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/covidplan/.

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