According to the most recent figures, this nation’s opioid epidemic is not slowing down. More people are losing their lives each year to opiate-related overdoses. The American Dental Association is the latest healthcare group to speak out against this crisis, with a recent statement regarding prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

New Study Reveals that Opioid Prescriptions from Dentists Have Increased

Medical providers and policymakers across the nation have been tightening restrictions on opioid prescriptions, which could create additional issues if drug addicts look for other sources of the medication. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association reveals that there has been an increase in opioid prescriptions from dentists.

The study, which was released in April 2018, reports that opioid prescriptions among dental patients with private insurance between 2010 and 2015 have increased. Specifically, the rate of prescriptions per 100,000 patients went from 130.58 in 2010 to 147.44 in 2015. Also, nearly one-third of patients prescribed opioids received them for non-surgical visits. The largest increase in these prescriptions was among patients ages 11 to 18.

The American Dental Association Announces New Opioid Policy

In response to this study’s disturbing news, the American Dental Association released a new policy on opioid prescriptions. The ADA supports all existing prescription limitation mandates as well as continuing education for its members. Specifics of the new policy include:

  • The ADA supports limits on opioid prescription duration and dosage no more than seven days worth of treatment for acute pain, which is consistent with the guidelines from the CDC.
  • The ADA supports mandating continuing education on the prescription of controlled substances, including opioids.
  • The ADA supports all dentists registering and using available Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) to prevent abuse and misuse of drugs.

The president of the ADA asked that dentists across the country take extra care in the prescription of opioid painkillers to their patients since in some cases these drugs are causing harm to those same patients and their families. With these new policies, the ADA wants to demonstrate its commitment to fighting the nation’s opioid epidemic while also helping patients manage their dental pain.

Most patients who receive prescription painkillers in the U.S. either get them for the management of chronic pain or to treat acute pain. In 1998, dentists were the specialists who prescribed the highest amount of opioids to treat such things as pain associated with root canals, teeth extraction, and severe tooth decay. In the twenty years since then, some dentists have tried to decrease the opioid prescriptions they write. The ADA’s new policies are meant to decrease the number of prescriptions even further.

Where to Turn for Drug Addiction Help

If you are struggling with an opioid use disorder, whether you received those drugs from a physician, dentist, or on the street, there is help available. It is virtually impossible to stop using these drugs on your own, which is why there are specialized and compassionate addiction treatment programs that you can turn to for help.

At The Recovery Village, our team of addiction counselors and medical experts will guide you through the medical detox process, and then you will enter the drug treatment program that best suits your particular needs.

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