e-mail Print Share

Prescription Drug Abuse

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 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 Communiqués

  • 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 & Initiatives

ADA Resources

Additional Resources

Contact Us

Washington Office
1111 14th Street NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
202.898.2400
Email: govtpol@ada.org

 

State Government Affairs
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
312.440.2525
Email: govtpol@ada.org

FAQ on New HPC Regulation.