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ADA commends White House for declaring public health emergency on opioids

October 27, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The American Dental Association issued a statement Oct. 27 commending President Donald Trump for declaring a public health emergency on the opioid crisis.

“The American Dental Association joins the chorus of health organizations praising the White House for its official designation of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency,” the Association said. “The ADA hopes this action by the president will encourage public health agencies to prioritize their resources to address the problem.”

The statement noted that the Association has “long recognized” the severity of opioid misuse and abuse, and has made “great strides in educating dentists” about how they can help mitigate the crisis.

In 2016, the ADA updated its policy for managing dental pain, especially for patients who are at risk for drug overdose and/or addiction and encouraging dentists to consider using non-narcotic medications as a first-line pain therapy.

The ADA also has offered free online continuing education on safe and effective opioid prescribing since 2012. The Association also developed “The ADA Practical Guide to Substance Use Disorders and Safe Prescribing.” The clinical reference manual includes techniques dentists can use to manage pain for patients who may be at risk for substance dependence.

Earlier this month, the ADA submitted comments urging the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and House Committee on Energy and Commerce to better distinguish pain management in dentistry from pain management in medicine, specifically when it comes to managing acute pain versus chronic pain.

“The ADA hopes that the president’s declaration will mean even more emphasis on this distinction in the federal government’s opioid prescriber education and outreach efforts,” the ADA said.

“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,” the statement concluded. “The ADA will continue its work in this area, including providing its members with continuing education opportunities and information addressing opioid abuse by patients.”

“The ADA Practical Guide to Substance Use Disorders and Safe Prescribing” is available from the ADA catalog. Readers can save 15 percent on this book and all ADA Catalog products with promo code 17159 until Dec. 30. To order, visit or call 1-800-947-4746.

More information is available at