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Prescription Drug Abuse

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 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.

Letters and Testimony

  • September 9, 2014Letter (PDF) urging state dental societies to consider planning (or participating in) community events in observance of National Recovery Month (September 2014).
  • August 26, 2013Letter (PDF) urging state dental societies to consider planning (or participating in) community events in observance of National Recovery Month (September 2013).
  • September 25, 2012Issues Alert (PDF) urging dentists to counsel their patients about how to keep prescription drugs from becoming a source of harm as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
  • September 25, 2012Letter (PDF) advising state dental societies about the Drug Enforcement Administration’s fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and the resources available for dentists to refresh their knowledge about opioid prescribing.
  • September 25, 2012—ADA News article on professional opportunities for dentists to help prevent prescription drug abuse.
  • September 25, 2012Press release urging dentists to counsel their patients about how to safely secure and dispose of unused, unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals.
  • August 2, 2012Letter (PDF) urging state dental societies to consider planning (or participating in) community events in observance of National Recovery Month (September 2012).

Campaigns and Initiatives

ADA Resources

Additional Resources

Contact Us

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202.898.2400
Email: govtpol@ada.org

    

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Chicago, IL 60611
312.440.2525
Email: govtpol@ada.org

FAQ on New HPC Regulation.