Reduced painkiller prescription by dentists can help tackle opioid abuse

Reduced painkiller prescription by dentists can help tackle opioid abuse

America is facing a major drug abuse problem, with its people using and abusing all kinds of addictive substances, including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, alcohol and prescription painkillers. Many factors are responsible for the rise in dependence habit, but the inclination to use opioids in a manner and dosage different from that prescribed by the doctors is a major reason for people getting hooked on opioids and other addictive substances.

Steps are being implemented to educate people about the adverse impact of using too many opioids. A recent study has claimed that excessive prescription of painkillers by dentists after tooth extraction surgeries may push people towards abusing prescription painkillers. Reducing the number of prescriptions or limiting them to the extent needed is being touted as an effective method to reduce opioid abuse problem.

Need to cut down on opioids after tooth extraction

In a study titled, “Opioid Prescribing After Surgical Extraction of Teeth in Medicaid Patients, 2000-2010,” the scientists observed that dentists were among the foremost prescribers of opioid analgesics. The study, published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association in March 2016, observed that surgical tooth extraction was one of the most commonly conducted dental procedures. The surgery made dental practitioners prescribe opioids despite their knowledge that a combination of non-steroidal medications and acetaminophen can be an effective palliative for post-extraction pain.

In a letter directed at the dentists practicing in the U.S., Carol Gomez Summerhays, president of the American Dental Association (ADA), urged dentists to take preventive steps against extensive abuse of opioids.

The letter, published in the ADA news in July 2016, read, “Patients have a responsibility to use opioid painkillers only as prescribed and to keep their unused medications from getting into the wrong hands. We can empower them by being more judicious in our prescribing when less aggressive treatments are indicated. We can also make sure patients leave our offices knowing about their abuse potential and how to safely secure, monitor and discard them at home.”

The letter reiterated the need for dentists to use the state’s prescription drug monitoring program which would help them identify patients who are doctor shopping for painkillers. In addition, the dentists have been advised to refer to the ADA Practical Guide to Substance Use Disorders and Safe Prescribing that would help them understand and react to doubtful and compulsive drug-seeking tendencies.

Though dentists stress that the number of pills prescribed depends on the patients’ needs, the larger question is if there is an alternative method to treat pain.

Timely treatment is key to addiction problem

The American economy is bleeding due to opioid abuse. The opioid epidemic is responsible for an annual expenditure of $78.5 billion on direct health costs, loss in productivity and costs to the criminal justice system as detailed in a recent study, titled “So Prescription Opioid Disorders are a $78.5 Billion Problem” that was published in the journal Medical Care in October 2016.

Timely treatment is imperative to get rid of the addictive habit. Treatment centers prescribe various recovery methods, depending on the nature of addiction and seriousness of dependence habit. The line of treatment for addiction differs from patient to another, but the preliminary step is always detoxification which involves flushing out toxins that may have been accumulated in the body due to excessive indulgence in addictive substances. Detoxification includes a combination of medicines along with therapies which need to be carried out under medical supervision.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, it is time to seek assistance from the best detox and rehab centers in California. Get in touch with the California Detox Helpline for immediate assistance. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495 or chat online with experts to find drug rehab centers in California and rapid detox centers in California.