CHICAGO — Oct. 26 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day—a day to not only safely dispose of unused prescription medications but also to raise year-round awareness and inspire further action on the opioid public health crisis.
For more than a decade, the American Dental Association (ADA) has advocated to keep opioid pain medications from harming dental patients and their families. Dentists have written nearly half a million fewer opioid prescriptions over a five-year period. In 2018, the ADA was the first—and to this day remains the only—national health professional organization—to agree to mandated limits on opioid prescriptions.
“For years, dentists have been self-regulating their own prescribing habits in order to do what is best for patients,” said ADA President Chad Gehani, D.D.S. "As a profession, we make a promise to our patients that we will be good stewards of their health. We will continue to fight the opioid epidemic by keeping that promise and upholding the all-important doctor-patient relationship.”
The ADA continues to urge its 163,000 dentist members to consider non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as a first-line therapy for acute pain management. A review of research published in the April 2018 Journal of the American Dental Association indicates NSAIDs, alone or in combination with acetaminophen, is more effective with fewer side effects than opioids for acute pain management.
Among the many ways ADA continues to focus on the opioid epidemic include:
- offering free online webinars and in person continuing education sessions for dental professionals
- urging dentists to register with their state prescription drug monitoring programs
- offering patient-friendly resources to inform the public that over-the-counter pain relievers can often effectively relieve short-term dental pain
The ADA is committed to working with physicians, pharmacies, policymakers and the public to end this tragic and preventable public health crisis that has been devastating our families and communities.