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MN dentists grapple with issue of opioid prescription practices

Readers may be aware that opioid addiction is an important issue nowadays, one which frequently appears in the headlines as authorities attempt to grapple with the growing problem. The problem is one which deeply concerns not only law enforcement agencies, but also the medical profession.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. State medical professional boards have taken notice of the problem and, to a greater or lesser degree, monitor medical professionals to ensure they are following acceptable prescribing standards. Most medical professionals understand the problem and act professionally, with due caution when prescribing opioid painkillers to patients. 

As a recent article highlights, though, medical professionals, including dentists, don’t always understand when they may be dealing with an opioid addict. Nowadays, medical professionals receive substantial education on the issue, but this hasn’t always been the case. Some dentists, having recognized the extent and seriousness of the problem, are choosing to give up their federal license to prescribe opioids, citing research showing that a combination of non-addictive painkillers may be just as effective.

Perhaps opioid use among dentists will one day be completely eliminated. For now, though, it remains a viable alternative. Dentists who do choose to prescribe opiods should, of course, understand not only their professional obligations when it comes to responsible prescription-writing, but also the importance of working with an experienced attorney to receive guidance and advocacy when their prescribing practices are called into question by the state professional board.