NPR

Dental Schools Add An Urgent Lesson: Think Twice About Prescribing Opioids

Opioid painkillers prescribed by dentists have helped fuel the nation's addiction epidemic. Dental schools are teaching the next generation of dentists that there are other ways to treat pain.
Dentists are among the larger prescribers of opioid painkillers. They're trying to change that. Source: Pureradiancephoto

The opioid epidemic has been fueled by soaring numbers of prescriptions written for pain medication. And often, those prescriptions are written by dentists.

"We're in the pain business," says Paul Moore, a dentist and pharmacologist at University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. "People come to see us when they're in pain. Or after we've treated them, they leave in pain."

Indeed, of prescriptions for immediate-release opioids are written by dentists. In 2012, dentists ranked 4th among medical specialties for their opioid prescribing rates, according to data from QuintilesIMS. It has made dentists

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