We hear time and time again, “I became addicted to opiate medication after my surgery”.
There is an estimated 5 million people each year that have their wisdom teeth extracted and most of them are given a prescription opioid for pain relief.
So the question remains, are dentists the number one offender in escalating the current epidemic we have on our hands?
A research team out of Harvard reported to JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), that dentists prescribe a good majority of opioids, especially after surgical procedures. Shockingly, the highest number of these prescription opioids were given to teens, between the ages of 14-17 years. Patients between 18-24 years old hold a close 2nd.
A major problem lies within the training provided to dental students. How to properly educate patients on the dangers of prescription opioids and prescribing only for necessity seems to be forgotten about when giving someone medication.
A pattern that has been seen across both the dental and medical profession is prescribing extra medications just in case the patient may need them. Just in case? Yes, you heard that correctly.
Instead of trying to avoid having to see a patient more than once, dentists and doctors need to hold themselves more accountable with regard to ethics and patient care.
Furthermore, the other issue results from not knowing which patients will actually need prescription opioid medication and which will find relief with over-the-counter medicines. Typically it is difficult to determine someone’s pain level until after they return home.
Dr. Paul Moore, professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, stated “Maybe 50% of the patients will need a prescription. We just don’t know which 50% and we have to provide a prescription for people who may or may not need it.”
We have all seen the attention this crisis is getting from politicians and the media. With new policies and legislation being put in place, hopefully we will begin turning the corner on the cycle of prescription opioid dependence.
Some dental schools across the nation have already set up new guidelines to their training curricula. Students will be taught to properly inform and educate patients on use and disposal of any narcotic medications. Also, they will only be authorized to write 2 week prescriptions which include no refills.
Do You Need Help With Your Prescription Opioid Addiction?
For over 40 years, Clearbrook has treated addiction, in all of its forms, from alcoholism to heroin addiction. We have also had the privilege of helping and caring for individuals addicted to prescription opioids.
With our state-of-the-art detox unit, we can offer you a medically supervised detox process, but this is just the beginning.
Once your detox regiment is complete, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in our treatment process which will give you the necessary tools to continue on in sobriety.
If you are struggling with addiction, please know there is another way. Recovery is possible. If you have questions regarding admission into our program, contact our Admissions Specialists today.