PTSD and Opiod Dependency

PTSD and Opiod Dependency


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Opioid dependency have become a significant public health issue in the United States. Many people with these conditions experience a reduced quality of life because they have limited access to treatment and other support services. Because of the inadequate resources, many patients are diagnosed late and cannot access proper treatment and support necessary for their recovery in the long-term. Therefore, many deaths from PTSD and opioid abuse have been reported in the United States. As a result, the federal, state, and local governments should take a new approach to increase access of the patients to treatment and reduce the risk factors for these mental disorders.

PTSD and Opioid Dependency

            Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) and Opioid dependency have recently become a significant public health concern in the United States. Both of these mental conditions compromise the quality of lives of the patients and their families. If not addressed quickly and effectively, PSTD can make the patient antisocial and violent, posing a significant risk to other people. Similarly, opioid dependency can make people listless and dependent on others, and an overdose can lead to death. This paper analyses the current prevalence and effects of these disorders on American society and proposes various ways to curb them.


            Posttraumatic stress disorder (PSTD) has become increasingly prevalent recently, attracting significant attention from researchers and concerns about public awareness. It first surfaced in 1980 after valid psychological studies driven by concerns about the psychological effects of violence. The research studies identified various causes of PTSD for the enlightenment of the public, which ranges from accidents, rape, assault, natural catastrophes, and armed conflict. The violent tendencies of PTSD patients render the disorder a public health issue that needs urgent attention to safeguard the safety of the public. Similarly, proper measures must be put in place to reduce the exposure to the risk factors, facilitate prompt management of the cases, and provide intervention to those exposed to the risks factors.

The tendency of PTSD patients to engage in crime is of particular concern to both the authorities and experts. Concerning such tendencies, Ardino (2012) revealed the trajectories that link trauma and PTSD to criminality. According to Ardino (2012), personality assessment underscores the risk factors for the disorder. Given the antisocial and destructive symptoms of PTSD, a more sophisticated approach to the patients should be adapted to minimize or prevent harm. Besides, Abram et al. (2013) highlighted the high possibility of youth with PTSD developing a psychiatric disorder. The possible existence of a mental disorder alongside PTSD is often neglected during the assessment and profiling of patients. Therefore, the change of the approach is necessary to facilitate holistic management and treatment of the cases.

            The treatment modality is the second most prominent topic in the PTSD discourse, with a particular focus on the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) as a treatment method. This approach involves the use of multiple evidence-based approaches, which lead to recovery from trauma and improvement of the disease symptoms. Regarding CBT usability, it is important to examine different case studies of the first PTSD respondents to establish the efficacy of the treatment. Many research studies have proven its benefits in the treatment of the abnormality, and this it is among the leading methods based on efficacy. Nonetheless, a more comprehensive treatment is essential to alleviate the symptoms of patients with PTSD. Furthermore, the criminal behavior of PTSD patients makes it an important public health problem and a multidisciplinary issue that involves the criminal justice system besides clinical psychology. The latter is often required to confirm the diagnosis of the condition to establish mental competence in crime perpetration. The authority can order adequate treatment of the patient or restraint from the public to prevent a repeat of the crime.

Opioid Dependency

            A recent increase in the number of opioids abusers in the United States reflects ineffective policies, insufficient resources, or laxity in enforcement of the relevant policies to control access of the substance by the public. The increase can be mainly attributed to the rise in the availability of prescription and non-prescription forms of the drug. In 2014, deaths linked to opioid overdose reached a record high of 28647, of which half were related to prescribed opioids (National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, 2016). The issue cuts across racial, socio-economic, gender, and demographic boundaries. The menace has necessitated reforms on the laws to customize the fight on the abuse to distinct communities.     Many jurisdictions prioritize the arrests and imprisonment of the users and traffickers to control its abuse. Nonetheless, deaths from opioid overdose continue to rise despite increased arrest and prosecutions of the abusers and sellers. The trend calls for a shift from arresting of the users to control of the production and trafficking from the Latin America countries, especially Colombia, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, as well as the Dominican Republic. The US policy-makers must review the present efforts to mitigate opioid misuse. Therefore, it is expedient to examine the opioid battle in the US and discuss the interrelationships between the processes, the people, resources, trafficking, and opioid abuse. The assessment gives priority to the use of the drug by persons with PTSD.

            The number of Americans who have died from the use of illicit opioids highlights the extent of the problem in the country. Based on the Drug Enforcement Administration (2016), drug abuse accounts for more injuries and deaths in the US than vehicle crashes or suicide. The relevant authorities that fight illicit drug use have initiated diverse efforts. In particular, the Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the Opioid initiative in 2015 to improve prescription practices and increase access to treatment, including psychological interventions (Department of Health and Human Services, 2017). The agency focused mainly on mitigating stigma and advancing treatment modalities to improve the lives of substance users. The initiative increased the coverage of people with opioid use disorders to improve prescriptions approaches. The coverage aimed to draw out positive behaviors and allow the patient to cope with other comorbid mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Certainly, effective treatment is crucial to support the long-term recovery of illicit opioid users. Nevertheless, an estimated 89% of substance users have limited access to treatment (National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, 2016). Therefore, the public health experts and the government must allocate more resources to improve access of such patients to treatment interventions and to reduce the availability of substances to them.

            Funding is a critical factor in determining the success of law enforcement in fighting trafficking and the use of illicit drugs. The US endeavors to resolve the issue by setting up special resources targeting the supply chain components of the illicit drug, including the farmer, the supplier, the intermediaries, and the user. Regarding the user, the federal and state governments have set up rehabilitation facilities with experts to treat the addiction. However, the government has limited resources at its disposal to effectively resolve the problem. As such, it takes longer for victims to receive help, leading to the deaths from overdose, which mostly affects those from the rural areas. As such, much needs to be done to empower law enforcement agencies and win the fight against traffickers and substance use.

Recommendations for Opioid Dependency

            The US government should approach the problem of opioid dependence from a different perspective. It should improve the sharing of information between the relevant stakeholders. An effective data-sharing system would allow a timely and adequate response to the opioid abuse epidemic by monitoring use and overdose. Such a framework will facilitate the interpretation of the current and future trends to allocate adequate resources to intervene appropriately (Finklea, 2016). The availability of up-to-date data would enable law enforcement agencies to identify drug trafficking networks and reduce the flow of illicit drugs. An effective data collection and sharing infrastructure will facilitate coordination between the community health facilities and the police department (Ackerman, 2006). The profiling of the user will provide the law enforcement agency with a point for starting their investigation, which can lead them to traffickers or the suspects. Therefore, community health professionals must have persuasion skills to get the patient to disclose the source of opioids. Similarly, the police must work closely with the public to seal the loopholes for the traffickers and the abusers of the substance.

            In addition, a high-intensity program must be established at all levels to reduce trafficking and supply of illicit drugs. The program will provide a benchmark for allocating resources to the local government and communities, which will help in the apprehending drug dealers and identifying substance users for treatment intervention. The program will integrate awareness campaigns, prevention, intelligence, and law enforcement. These measures will make the program more holistic in the approach to the opioid use problem. Therefore, experts must meet to develop, implement, and evaluate the program to achieve the desired outcome.

Lastly, the government should increase the access of public health officers to information on law enforcement regarding substance use. For instance, these professionals should know what the law requires about overdose reports to ascertain the incidences in communities, and this would guide surveillance and resource allocation. Moreover, the health experts should have adequate and timely access to complete data to isolate a group for follow-up, provide access to treatment, as well as intervention and support services to mitigate opioid abuse (Police Executive Research Forum, 2016). As a result, public health will be empowered in the fight against substance use.

Recommendation for PTSD

            The quality of life of patients with PTSD can be improved dramatically with timely and adequate access to treatment. To this end, the US governments should strengthen the treatment system for PTSD. The approach will increase access to treatment and services that facilitate long-term recovery from anxiety and depression. The government should establish more facilities at the community levels to reduce the negative outcome of PTSD, including disrupted families. Similarly, Feinman (2018) proposes that policy-makers should plan and find enough support facilities to increase the number of patients who can access such services. Moreover, the government, through the public health, should expand the medication-based treatment, critical access centers, and community mental health centers, as this will increase the capacity of the social workers to connect with the patient and their families to facilitate long-term recovery. Furthermore, the government should facilitate continued education of the health and social services workers at the centers to increase their knowledge and skills, which will help in implementing evidence-based practice (Gerton, 2018). Hence, access to quality treatment will adequately help the government reduce PTSD cases and their adverse consequences.


Abram, K., Teplin, L., King, D., Longworth, S., Emanuel, K., & Romero, E. et al. (2013). PTSD,             Trauma, and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders in Detained Youth. Office of Juvenile             Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Retrieved from    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/16fa/25fb7b7786272f4d43b298cb33c07dacdff5.pdf?_ga      =2.27899583.2095493923.1562399775-1385153383.1562219818

Ackerman, K. R. (2006, July). Law enforcement, military share information. Signal.

Ardino, V. (2012). Offending behaviour: the role of trauma and PTSD. European Journal            Of Psychotraumatology, 3(1), 18968. doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v3i0.18968

Department of Health and Human Services. (2017). Continuing progress on the opioid epidemic: The role of the Affordable Care Act. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services.

Drug Enforcement Administration. (2016). 2016 national drug threat assessment summary.          Washington, DC: Drug Enforcement Administration.

Feinman, L. C. (2018, October 17). The opioid crisis & its impact on public safety. Domestic        Preparedness.

Finklea, K. (2016). Heroin trafficking in the United States. Washington, DC: Congressional           Research Service.

Gerton, W. T. (2018). Help tackle the grand challenges of our time. Washington, DC:        Government Executive.

The Health and Human Services (HHS). (2017). Continuing Progress on opioid epidemic: The      role of the Affordable Care Act. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services.

National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. (2016). Families in crisis:    The human service implications of rural opioid misuse. Washington, DC: National        Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services.

National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. (2016). Families in crisis:    The human service implications of rural opioid misuse. Washington, DC: National        Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services.

Papazoglou, K. (2017). Examining the Psychophysiological Efficacy of CBT Treatment for First Responders Diagnosed With PTSD: An Understudied Topic. SAGE Open, 7(3),            215824401772940. doi: 10.1177/2158244017729407

Police Executive Research Forum. (2016). Building successful partnerships between law    enforcement and public health agencies to address opioid use. Washington, DC: Police        Executive Research Forum.

Police Executive Research Forum. (2016). Building successful partnerships between law    enforcement and public health agencies to address opioid use. Washington, DC: Police        Executive Research Forum.


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