Prescription Drugs (Opioid Abuse)
Opioid pain medications, 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 role to play in preventing their diversion, misuse, and abuse.
Campaigns and Initiatives
Quick Tips for Prescribers
- Tell your patients about the dangers of using opioid painkillers for non-medical purposes. (Many don't know using these drugs other than prescribed is illegal, dangerous, and can even be fatal.)
- Learn to recognize when a patient may be seeking prescription opioids for non-medical purposes. (The ADA offers free continuing education webinars for dentists to learn about model opioid prescribing in the context of modern day drug-seeking behavior.)
- Register with your state prescription drug monitoring program (if available) to determine whether a patient may be "doctor shopping."
- Urge patients to visit MouthHealthy.org/meds to learn how to keep opioid painkillers from becoming a source of harm in their households and communities.
- Free Continuing Education Webinars—Take advantage of the ADA’s free continuing education webinars on opioid prescribing in the context of modern day drug-seeking behavior.
- Free Tools for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)—Learn how to spot signs that a patient may be diverting, misusing, and/or abusing prescription drugs, and how to refer those patients for appropriate treatment.
- Q&A on DEA Requirements for Schedule II Drugs (Members Only)—Obtain answers to the most frequently asked questions about prescribing Vicodin, Lortab, and other hydrocodone-combination drug products (HCPs).
- ADA Practical Guide to Substance Use Disorders and Safe Prescribing (ADA Catalog)—This handy reference guide explains how to prescribe opiates responsibly, spot drug-seeking behaviors, provide safe pain relief, and refer patients for substance abuse treatment.
- Addressing after-hours requests for prescription drugs (JADA, April 2014)
- Substance-use screening and interventions in dental practices (JADA, June 2013)
- Prevention of prescription opioid abuse: The role of the dentist (JADA, July 2011)
- What should I do when I suspect a patient may be abusing prescription drugs? (JADA, May 2008)
For Dental Societies
- Free Continuing Education Webinars—Urge your members to refresh their knowledge about opioid prescribing in the context of modern day drug-seeking behavior.
- Understanding DEA Requirements for Schedule II Drugs (Members Only)—Tell your members about this Q&A on the latest requirements for prescribing Vicodin, Lortab, and other hydrocodone-combination drug products (HCPs).
- Dentist Health and Wellness Programs—Learn how to develop and maintain a peer assistance program to help impaired colleagues find treatment and establish some measure of long-term stability in their lives.
- ADA Center for Professional Success (Members Only)—Tell your members about the ADA’s online resource to help dentists deal with stress, depression, chemical dependency, and other wellness issues, and find ways to be healthy and stay healthy.
- National Recovery Month—Consider planning (or participating in) community events during National Recovery Month (every September), a nationwide campaign to promote the message that recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is possible, laudable, and beneficial to individuals, families, and communities.
For Dental Patients
Visit MouthHealthy.org/meds to learn about the addictive nature of opioid painkillers and how to keep them from becoming a source of harm to you and your family.
The ADA works with policymakers on an ongoing basis to address the problems associated with substance use disorders. Please visit the ADA Substance Use Disorders
page to learn more.
Dentist Health and Wellness Program
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
312.440.2525 (ext. 2622)