medical history

The Fight Against the Opioid Crisis

February 27th, 2019

The opioid crisis is a major public health emergency that has sadly resulted in the loss of many lives. According to the (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse, the deaths from opioid use increased from 18,515 in 2007 to 47,600 deaths in 2017. It has been found that for every day that passes, about 130 people in America die from an opioid overdose. Opioids, including Vicodin, Percocet, Morphine, Codeine, and Oxycodone, to name a few, are categoriezed as narcotics, and can be an effective pain management option prescribed by medical professionals after a procedure like wisdom teeth extractions. However, abuse of opioids has become a dangerous issue, with almost 29% of patients misusing them when prescribed. Opioids do provide pain-relief, but they also trigger your body to release the hormone dopamine, which in turn can lead to addition due to the experience of pleasure signaled to your brain. Even so, abuse of opioids can lead individuals to abuse other dangerous drugs such as heroin. Misusing opioids can lead to depressed airways and ultimately death.

Awareness is a key way to help prevent this epidemic. Dentists and oral surgeons write approximately 12% of opioids prescriptions for pain relief after certain procedures. This percentage is expected to decrease now as combinations of Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and other over-the-counter drugs have been shown to be as effective as opioids in relieving pain after dental procedures. Opioids can only be prescribed for up to 7 days in Massachusetts, which was the first state to adopt this law in 2016. It is important to update your dentist with any current medical conditions, medications, and if you have a past addiction history.

If it is decided by the healthcare professional and the patient to use an opioid for treatment, make sure to ask when and how much you should be taking, the objective of the medication, and the risks involved. Be sure to also store your prescription away in a safe place out of reach of other individuals to help reduce the risk of potential abuse by others. You may also find that you do not need the entire amount of pills prescribed. To dispose of unused pills, be sure to follow these guidelines:

Prescription medication disposal instructions

If you or a loved one is battling with addiction,  you may call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for free at any time 24 hours on any day.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. DerekDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.

References:

https://wellesley.wickedlocal.com/news/20190223/new-focus-on-role-of-dentists-in-opioid-epidemic

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/opioids?utm_source=adaorg&utm_medium=OpioidsFeaturedBox&utm_content=mouthhealthy

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