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ADA president: We have and will continue to educate dental community on opioids

October 15, 2019

By Jennifer Garvin

Dr Gehani
Dr. Chad P. Gehani
Washington — On the heels of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service releasing new guidance on opioids, the ADA wants members to know the Association continues to combat the opioid epidemic by educating dentists on the best ways to help patients manage dental pain.

For more than a decade the ADA has been combatting the opioids crisis by pursuing common sense policies to keep opioid pain relievers from harming dental patients and their families.

 "We have and will continue to educate dental community to consider nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other alternative pain control. We self-regulate ourselves for patient safety," said ADA President Chad P. Gehani.

In 2018, the ADA adopted policy on opioids supporting prescription limits and mandatory continuing education for dentists. The policy is believed to be one of the first of its kind from a major health professional organization.

“We should be very proud that the ADA was the first major health organization to agree to certain mandates or even discuss them. We were already raising awareness and urging cautious prescribing, but here we self-regulated and our profession did the right thing to help the public,” Dr. Gehani said.

On Oct. 10, HHS published the Guide for Clinicians on the Appropriate Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Analgesics. The guide is centered on assisting clinicians who prescribe long-term opioid analgesics for patients, but it also serves as a reminder that opioids have potential to harm or put patients at risk if prescribing decisions are not made in “a thoughtful, deliberative, collaborative and measured manner.”

In addition to ADA’s opioid policy, the Association continues to raise professional awareness about prescription opioid abuse, encouraging dentists to complete Continuing Education Provider Recognition training in model opioid prescribing and urging them to register with their state prescription drug monitoring programs. The Association also regularly offers free online webinars on safe and effective opioid prescribing for dental pain.

The ADA Practical Guide to Substance Use Disorders and Safe Prescribing also assists dental practitioners with identifying and treating patients with drug addiction, preventing drug diversion, and properly managing and prescribing controlled substances.

For more information on how the ADA is working to combat opioid abuse, visit ADA.org/opioids.