Are dentists targets for 'doctor shopping' from opioid users? – 5 insights

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The opioid epidemic continues to surge with increasing numbers of prescriptions being written for pain medication and dentists continue to write millions of prescriptions each year, according to NPR.

Here are five insights:

1. In 2012, dentists ranked fourth among medical specialties for their opioid prescribing rates, according to data from QuintilesIMS. The data found dentists wrote 18.5 million opioid prescriptions that year.

2. Dentists have a 28.9 percent opioid prescribing rate, and 12 percent of prescriptions for immediate release opioids are written by dentists.

3. To curb the epidemic, Massachusetts dental schools require dental students demonstrate knowledge of nonopioid treatment options upon receiving their degree.

4. This next generation of dentists is not only learning how to prescribe opioids appropriately, but also how to look at pain differently. Students are taught pain management options and informing patients they should no longer expect to have zero levels of pain follow treatment.

5. This past year, the Commission on Dental Accreditation ordered all graduates to be competent accessing patients for substance use disorder. However, dentists are pushing back on these assessments due to the time it would add to patient visits.

More articles on dental:
Delta Dental launches PPO individual plans: 3 key points
Weave Communications completes $17M Series B-1 funding: 4 things to know
Western Dental acquires 14 Calif. offices: 5 key points

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