With the increase in painkiller abuse in America there is a lot of speculation as to who is responsible for this epidemic? Is it the patient with the addiction or is it the ease of legal access to these drugs? This has always been a tough subject for health care professionals, especially those in the dental field.
Prescribing narcotics in the dental field is not something to be taken lightly, statistics show that about 12% of opioids in the U.S. are prescribed by dental practitioners. And, with the rise in prescription drug abuse the medical and dental community have been urged by Washington to be more cautious with opioid prescription. However, some procedures and situations, such as surgical procedures and pain resulting from severely infected teeth can leave a patient in a lot of pain. Being restrictived use only the use of over the counter pain medications rather than prescription medications can leave the patient in pain and counting down the minutes until when they are able to take their next dose. Health practitioners must use their discretion when deciding to prescribe or recommend over the counter medications. Because of the increase of abuse, practitioners must be more diligent about writing prescriptions to ensure that they are not enabling addicts. The Drug Enforcement Agency has come to the aid in this situation by providing a log of patients that are filling prescriptions in a short period of time at various pharmacies and/or written by different practitioners. This gives wary healthcare providers a resource to aid in their decision whether or not to not prescribe to a potentially drug seeking patient.]]>