Fighting Back Against Diseases Of Devastation

Of concern to registered nurses is that drug overdose is now the leading cause of injury and death in the United States — claiming 350,000 lives over the past two decades, with 47,000 deaths in 2017 alone. Twenty seven states have sued the pharmaceutical companies behind the opioid explosion. Yet, people who are in dire need of healthcare and treatment are targeted and penalized for opioid use. As opioids claim lives from nearly every gender, race, ethnicity, and community in the United States, disparate treatment and police responses to the epidemic expose deep-seated race-based fault lines in the U.S. health care and criminal justice systems. Opioid use disorder should be treated as a public health issue. By comparing the opioid crisis with similar diseases of devastation, nurses will analyze the opioid epidemic as a symptom of the outsized influence of Big Pharma in our broken, for-profit health care system.

The class will conclude with discussion of systemic interventions nurses can take to heal diseases of devastation and protect nurses’ professional judgment.

Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe diseases of devastation, specifically the opioid epidemic.
  2. Discuss the role of rising drug prices, “me too” drugs, and race in opioid treatment policy.
  3. Compare and contrast registered nurses’ role in advocating for robust public health measures with the pharmaceutical industry’s exploitation of public health.
  4. Explain how nurses’ advocacy for systemic public health interventions — like Medicare for All and others — can counter Big Pharma’s hold on our health care system.

CE courses are free to California Nurses Association, National Nurses Organizing Committee, and National Nurses United members and student nurses. For direct-care and staff RNs. Participants will be notified by U.S. mail and by email if a course is cancelled.

NNU at-large membership is only available for RNs in non-NNU represented facilities.

FOR DIRECT-CARE AND STAFF RNs – Provided by California Nurses Association. Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP754 for 6 CEH.