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Overview

Narcotic analgesics, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, have become a leading source of drug abuse among teens and young adults.  As prescribers of these painkilling medications, dentists have a key role to play in preventing their diversion, misuse and abuse. 

  • Tell patients about the dangers of using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.  (Many don't know that using these drugs other than prescribed is illegal, dangerous and can even be fatal.)  
  • Be judicious about prescribing opioid painkillers and, when doing so, counsel patients about how to properly secure, monitor and dispose of their medication(s). 
  • Learn to recognize when a patient may be seeking prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.  (Reference your state's prescription drug monitoring program to determine whether a patient may be "doctor shopping.") 
  • Urge patients to visit MouthHealthy.org/rxabuse to learn more about keeping prescription drugs from becoming a source of harm. 

The ADA is urging dentists to take advantage of its free continuing education webinars—available through the Prescribers' Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (PCSS-O)—to refresh their knowledge about opioid prescribing in the context of modern day drug-seeking behavior. 

ADA Communiques

  • August 26, 2013—Letter expressing support for National Recovery Month 2013.
  • August 26, 2013—Letter urging constituent dental societies to plan (or consider participating in) National Recovery Month events in their area.
  • January 24, 2013—Presentation to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee regarding the clinical impact of rescheduling hydrocodone-containing combination drugs from Schedule III (C-III) to Schedule II (C-II).  
  • November 12, 2012Letter responding to questions from Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV about dentistry's role in preventing the diversion, misuse and abuse of prescription drugs.
  • October 15, 2012—Coalition letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the public health impact of rescheduling hydrocodone-containing combination drug products (HCCs) from Schedule III (C-III) to Schedule II (C-II).
  • September 25, 2012Issues Alert urging dentists to counsel their patients about how to keep prescription drugs from becoming a source of harm.
  • September 25, 2012—ADA News article on professional opportunities for dentists to help prevent prescription drug abuse. 
  • September 25, 2012Press release on efforts to help prevent prescription drug abuse.  
  • September 25, 2012Issues Alert urging dentists to talk with their patients about the dangers of prescription drug abuse in advance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA’s) fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  
  • September 25, 2012Letter advising state dental societies about National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and the resources available for dentists to refresh their knowledge about opioid prescribing. 
  • September 25, 2012Letter expressing support for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative 2012.  
  • September 25, 2012Letter expressing support for the Partnership at DrugFree.org’s Medicine Abuse Project.  
  • August 2, 2012Letter urging state dental societies to consider planning (or participating in) community events in observance of National Recovery Month in September. 
  • August 2, 2012Letter expressing support for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Recovery Month 2012.

Campaigns & Initiatives

ADA Policies, Statements & Guidelines

ADA Resources

Additional Resources

Contact Us

For additional information, please contact:

Washington Office
1111 14th Street NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
202.898.2400
Fax: 202.898.2437
E-mail: govtpol@ada.org

In Focus

IMAGE: JADA Cover July 2011

IMAGE: PCSS-O Training

IMAGE: The Medicine Abuse Project

Image: Disposing Unused Drugs

IMAGE: National Recovery Month