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ADA Commends the President’s Statement on Opioid Abuse

August 11, 2017

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Dental Association (ADA) commends President Donald Trump for his recent public statement acknowledging opioid abuse as a national public health emergency. His statement this week will encourage public health agencies to prioritize their resources to address the problem.

The ADA has long recognized the severity of opioid misuse and abuse, and has worked diligently to educate dentists about how they can help mitigate the problem. Last summer, then-ADA president Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays sent a “Dear Colleague” letter urging dentists everywhere to take several specific actions to prevent opioid abuse by their patients.

President Trump’s statement follows a July 31 interim report of the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which contains several draft recommendations to reinvigorate the fight against abuse. The ADA has advocated for many of these recommendations for years. 

In the coming days, the ADA will be asking to Commission to consider two issues that have long been of concern to us. One concerns the nuances of managing short-term acute pain versus long-term chronic pain. The other is to avoid duplicating or undermining what states have been doing on this issue for years.

The president’s statement will encourage the Department of Health and Human Services to bolster education efforts aimed at health care providers and students at dental and medical schools. 

The ADA encourages dentists to continually refresh their knowledge about how to safely prescribe opioid pain medication, and to know when non-opioid alternatives are appropriate. In addition, the ADA has worked hard to ensure that its members are aware of modern drug-seeking behavior and to help those patients who may be addicted to opioid painkillers. 

Health care professionals have a special role to play in addressing the opioid abuse problem. The ADA will continue its work in this area, including providing its members with continuing education and printed manuals on addressing opioid abuse by patients.

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About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 162,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website