Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention recently contacted local area dentists regarding abuse of prescription, as well as over-the-counter drugs, which has become increasingly prevalent among teens and adults, including the elderly. Past year abuse of prescription pain killers now ranks second—only behind marijuana—as the Nation’s most prevalent illegal drug problem. Prescriptions for opioid medications in particular, have increased annually since 1990, at least in part because of evolving attitudes toward the use of opioids to treat chronic pain, and the increasing prevalence of chronic pain with the aging of the population
Talbot Partnership advised that new recommendations published in the Journal of the American Dental Association aim to help dentists reduce prescription drug abuse. Dentists, who prescribe 12 percent of immediate release opioids in the United States, can play an important role in minimizing the potential for misuse or abuse.
Dentists write the third-most prescriptions for immediate release of opioids in the United States. Talbot Partnership, therefore, is requesting assistance from local dentists in helping with this problem. Recommendations for dentists include discussing with patients whether they need a painkiller, and how likely they are to use it; prescribing smaller quantities and limiting refills; not writing prescriptions for patients the dentist doesn’t already know, being suspicious of patients who say their drugs were lost or stolen; using state prescription monitoring databases, if available, to verify a patient’s drug-use history; telling patients to destroy or lock up unused medicine; and locking up prescription pads.
For further information on the dangers of prescription and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067.