The American Dental Association makes its stance on America's opioid crisis clear: it supports the statutory seven-day limit for opioid prescriptions.
Its renewed position on opioids comes as a drastic departure from a time when dental prescriptions were on the rise as opioid prescriptions were declining across the board, according to a new study. It's also one of the first major health associations to advocate support for the initiative, with the American Medical Association still in resistance.
"As president of the ADA, I call upon dentists everywhere to double down on their efforts to prevent opioids from harming our patients and their families," said Joseph P. Crowley, American Dental Association president. "This new policy demonstrates ADA's firm commitment to help fight the country's opioid epidemic while continuing to help patients manage dental pain."
The new study also brings to light increased dental opioid prescriptions between 2010 to 2015, which was particularly sharpest among the 11 to 18 demographic, an age group believed to be the most vulnerable for opioid addiction. Meanwhile, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that from 2012 to 2016, opioid prescriptions were on a decline.
Dentists Against Opioid Addiction
The American Dental Association is committed to do the following to help overcome the country's widespread and pernicious opioid epidemic:
• Require dentists to expand their education on opioid prescriptions and other controlled substances.
• As mentioned, limit prescriptions to a seven-day period for acute pain.
• Encourage dentists to register with Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.
One doctor, Craig Janssen, of the Janssen Dental Clinic, says staff checks the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program for each patient that comes to the clinic. The staff has access to a database to see whether a patient is obtaining opioids from multiple providers.
While Janssen supports the initiative, he think it won't singlehandedly solve America's deadly opioid crisis.
"It's a societal problem that will require more," he said.
America's Opioid Crisis
The CDC recently provided a harrowing report of the country's worsening opioid situation, which saw a 30 percent jump in overdose cases in just a year. In its analysis, only a few states reported declining cases of opioid overdoses.
"The fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating," said Anne Schuchat, acting director of CDC.
We might not be getting the whole picture, though, since many of those who overdose on opioids never make it to the emergency room and are thus not added to the overall tally.
"It might be even worse," said Shuchat.