Prescription Drugs (Opioid Abuse)
Opioid pain medications—such as hydrocodone (Vicodin®, Lortab®, etc.) and oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®, etc.)—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.
Calls to Action
Tools and Tips
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prescribing Schedule II Drugs 101 (Members Only)—Obtain answers to the most frequently asked questions about prescribing hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin®, Lortab®, etc.), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin®, Percocet®, etc.), morphine, codeine, and other hydrocodone-combination drug products (HCPs).
- 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)
Campaigns and Initiatives
The ADA participates in a number of campaigns and initiatives to raise professional awareness about the prevalence of opioid abuse, and encourage dentists to review the latest techniques for managing dental pain in the context of modern-day drug-seeking behavior.
Letters and Testimony reflect the Association's position(s) on specific bills, regulations, and other policy issues, and are based on the major policies and positions (PDF) (Members Only) adopted by the ADA House of Delegates.
- May 12, 2016—Letter (PDF) responding to comments from Sen. Richard Durbin about what dentistry has been doing to prevent the widespread abuse of opioid pain medications.
- February 24, 2016—Letter (PDF) urging Senate leadership to bring several provisions in S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015, to the floor for a vote by the full Senate.
- February 24, 2016—Letters urging the House Committees on Education and Workforce (PDF), Energy and Commerce (PDF), and the Judiciary (PDF) to issue favorable reports on several provisions in H.R. 953, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015, so they may be considered for a vote by the full House of Representatives.
- November 12, 2012—Letter (PDF) responding to questions from Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV about dentistry's role in preventing the diversion, misuse and abuse of prescription drugs.
Visit the ADA Substance Use Disorders page to learn about the full range of the Association's activities in this area.
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