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Mitigating the opioid epidemic in dental practice by promoting provider education and patient counseling

Gupta, Taru (2017) Mitigating the opioid epidemic in dental practice by promoting provider education and patient counseling. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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The United States is suffering from an opioid prescription crisis that has resulted in severe drug abuse, misuse and diversion leading to addiction and overdose deaths. Opioid overdose deaths have become the leading cause of death having surpassed motor vehicle accidents, the previous known most common cause for injury related deaths. Opioid prescription drugs are abused significantly for non-medical purposes more than all other illegal drugs combined, including heroin and cocaine. The crisis has serious public health significance since opioids have accounted for tragic loss of lives across all socioeconomic and income groups, added enormous burden on healthcare costs and astronomically increased emergency department visits. Dentists have been identified as a crucial provider group ranking fifth in prescribing opioid analgesics. The opioid drugs most commonly prescribed by dentists are hydrocodone and oxycodone, which also have the highest potential for abuse. Dentists are also a frequent provider group that usually prescribes adolescents their first opioid prescription, mostly after extraction of third molar wisdom teeth. Since adolescence is a vulnerable age for prescription drug abuse, misuse and diversion, dental prescribers have an obligation to use opioids only after trying alternative medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain management. There are many strategies, recommendations and initiatives at every level of the government to curb the opioid crisis. In addition to government efforts, a variety of programs are being implemented by the professional national, state and local organizations. The goal of this paper is to critically analyze the information currently available on dental provider prescribing behaviors and practices, patient attitudes and behaviors as it relates to proper opioid use, safe storage and disposal and various strategies to remediate the opioid issue. The objectives are to identify and discuss gaps existing in dental prescribing practices and recommendations that can reduce opioid abuse and misuse in the dental practice. Dental prescribers are in a prominent position to reduce opioid abuse and misuse by following best prescribing practices and diversion by judicious use of prescription drug monitoring programs. They can counsel patients on every dental visit about the risks associated with opioid therapy.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gupta, Tarutag59@pitt.eduTAG59
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBarron, Gerrygbarron@pitt.edugbarronUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberPolk, Deborah/ Edpolk@pitt.edudpolkUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMoore, Paul / Apam7@pitt.edupam7UNSPECIFIED
Date: 4 April 2017
Date Type: Submission
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2017 18:03
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2021 12:03


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