Molly's policy paper

Policy on Overuse of Antibiotics and Government Intervention
Many people nowadays seek antibiotics even when they are sick with the common cold, cough and flu and they are getting prescribed an antibiotic. These types of conditions are caused by viruses (1). Viruses cannot be treated with an antibiotic because only bacteria are susceptible to antibiotics. Bacteria and viruses are not the same either, so why are doctors prescribing an antibiotic to someone who has a common virus? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports tens of millions of antibiotics are prescribed each year for viral infections which cannot be effectively treated with antibiotics (1). The question is: Why are physicians prescribing antibiotics so often?
Some reasons are that doctors over prescribe antibiotics is that they feel the pressure from the patient’s demands to make them well and this increased pressure inevitably leads to unnecessary prescribing as a means to prevent some potential complications (2). Also, doctors in underdeveloped countries feel this same pressure. There is a lot of misdiagnosis in underdeveloped countries because of a lack of diagnostic facilities, so doctors have to make an educated guess which leads to the misuse of antibiotics (2). According to Weber, it is estimated that fifty percent of physicians over prescribe antibiotics in the Untied States and Canada (2). Some college students even admit to talking to their physicians and encouraging their physician to prescribe them an antibiotic that they know will work for them (3).
This overuse of antibiotics has had consequences though. More and more, diseases that were usually curable diseases are not anymore because of antibiotic resistance, such as Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (4). These diseases used to respond to antibiotic treatments but now it is very difficult to find an antibiotic that they respond to (5). If something is not done soon, there could to be a terrible epidemic in the world. People are dying of diseases that antibiotics used to work against but now bacteria is getting stronger and more resistant and antibiotics have stayed the same. This policy addresses public interventions that can be done in the Sioux City area and in these interventions it will promote the use of old home remedies. Also, the policy will address doctors
A. Hold public interventions and educate people in Sioux City about what a
threat antibiotic resistance truly is. The people need to know that antibiotics are only effective for bacterial infections and not viruses.
B. The local health department of Sioux City will promote the use of home remedies. Back in the golden years, they did not have antibiotics like we do today but they used home remedies: like gargling salt water when you have a sore throat or using a mustard plaster to break up chest congestion. We need to teach people that antibiotics need to be our last resource at all costs.
C. Doctors in Sioux City that do decide to prescribe an antibiotic need to make
regular checks on their patient by phone or have the patient come back in and make sure that they have the compliance of their patient and they are taking the antibiotic correctly.

Sioux City’s city council will start to hold public interventions and let the people know about this growing problem. The Woodbury County area will have to have at least 300 interventions a year to let people know about this growing problem. Sioux City will have to hire people to do this and will need to allocate a portion of their budget to accomplish this. According to Woodbury County’s official website the budget for this year has an undesignated amount of money in the amount of 8,284,554 dollars (6). The Council could use some of this money to hold these interventions. Woodbury County could also utilize Public Service Announcements (PSA). These are free and are shown on television so this would be a good way to advertise to get people to come to the County’s interventions. In these interventions, the people will be educated on some effective home remedies and that antibiotics should be the last resort unless you do have a bacterial infection. Also, doctors in Woodbury County need to start checking on the patients regularly after they have prescribed an antibiotic. They need to make sure the patient is complying with the medication orders and schedule a follow-up visit to see if the antibiotic worked or if another form of treatment is necessary.
Some arguments one might propose against this policy is that doctors are way to busy as it is now so they could not possibly be able to do all the essential follow-up visits and ensure it the patient is complying with their medication orders. The doctor will just have to use his best judgment and make sure he takes the time to diagnose his patient properly and not be hurried. Another argument one might make is how will the government obtain the necessary funding for the public interventions. The answer is that they are just going to have to cut money from the budgets of other organizations and institutions because these interventions are critical in stopping antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is a growing global problem that needs to be addressed by the people of the world. If it is not addressed, soon it could be too late because it takes anywhere from 10 to 20 years to develop a new antibiotic so people really need to start taking this problem seriously. The ways that this can happen is by having public interventions, teaching others about home remedies, and having doctors become stricter about prescribing an antibiotic.
1. National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory diseases/Division of
Bacterial Diseases. Get Smart: Know when Antibiotics work.” August 22nd, 2008.
2. Weber, C. “Update on Antimicrobial Resistance.” Dermatology Nursing.
3. Haltwanger, K.A., Hayden, G.F., Weber, T., Evans, B.A., Possner, A.B.
“Antibiotic-seeking behavior in college students: what do they really
expect?.” Journal of American College Health. (2007).
4. Clark, L. “Clinical Antibiotic Resistance: a growing and multifaceted
problem.” British Journal of Nursing. (2007).
5. Salyers, A., Whitt, D. “Revenge of the Microbes.” American Society for
Microbiology. (2005).
6. Woodbury County Information and Communications Commission. “Woodbury
County Iowa.” (2006).

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