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May 4, 2018
Vol. LXX, No. 9

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NIDA Meeting on Oral Health, Opioids

NIH and ADA staff discuss ways the oral health profession is addressing the opioid crisis.
NIH and ADA staff discuss ways the oral health profession is addressing the opioid crisis.

NIDA’s medical & health professionals initiative recently brought together leaders of the American Dental Association to meet with NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow, NIH principal deputy director Dr. Lawrence Tabak and NIDCR director Dr. Martha Somerman to discuss ways the oral health profession is addressing the opioid crisis.

The meeting was timely as the ADA has just announced a new policy on opioid prescribing—requiring its membership to take continuing education courses in prescribing opioids and other controlled substances, including statutory limits on opioid dosage with duration of no more than 7 days for the treatment of acute pain.

These steps are consistent with the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evidence-based guidelines. The ADA also recommends that dentists use and register with Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to promote the appropriate use of opioids and deter misuse and abuse. The initiative builds on ADA policy adopted in 2016, which recommended that dentists should consider nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics as the first-line therapy for acute pain management.

Volkow, Somerman and Tabak also discussed with ADA leadership possible research projects that could further identify best practices to deter opioid misuse in oral health management.

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