Opioids Have Become So Ingrained Into Culture Of Dentistry They’re Now The Norm
Many patients have come to expect strong narcotics after having a tooth removed or undergoing a root canal, even though research shows over-the-counter pain relievers would suffice.
This Dentist Broke His Opioid Habit. Can The Dental Profession Do The Same?
Dentists have become a significant source of opioid prescribing – especially for younger patients undergoing wisdom teeth extractions. They prescribe about 8 percent of the opioids in this country, according to government researchers, but are the top prescribers of these drugs to adolescents, accounting for 31 percent of all opioids given to patients aged 10 to 19 years old. That’s particularly concerning because that age group is among the most likely to abuse drugs and develop addictions. (Armstrong, 2/14)
In other news on the crisis —
Minnesota Public Radio:
Minnesota Launches Anti-Opioid Ad Campaign
A new anti-opioid advertising campaign is directed at family and friends of potential opioid abusers rather than addicts themselves. Attorney general Lori Swanson is spearheading the ad, called "Dose of Reality," and is urging TV stations and movie theaters to run it. The video features a woman trying to wake an unconscious teenager with an open pill bottle nearby. (Bakst, 2/13)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Opioids Should Be A Last Resort For Chronic Back Pain, Medical Group Says
Patients with chronic back pain should try therapies such as tai chi, yoga, acupuncture, and mindful meditation before being prescribed opioid painkilling drugs, according to new guidelines from the nation’s largest specialty physicians group. Monday’s release from the American College of Physicians is the latest in a continuing deluge of recommendations that seek to reframe how patients and doctors think about the prescription drugs blamed for fueling a national addiction crisis. (Sapatkin, 2/13)
UMass Partnering With Prisons To Improve Addiction Treatment
Thousands of inmates nationwide suffer from substance abuse disorder, officials say, and many become incarcerated while struggling with drug addiction. Many prisoners are arrested on drug offenses or crimes such as break-ins and robberies, which many say are conducted in the pursuit of feeding their addictions. Now the UMass Medical School is partnering with corrections officials across New England to study the treatment of addicted inmates while they are still behind bars, with the hope that specialized care will prevent their return to jail. (Hanson, 2/13)