Prescription drugs are prescribed to patients who are often in need of pain relief after a dental or medical procedure. Unfortunately, the statistics on prescription drug abuse are skyrocketing showing that in the US alone, an estimated 54 million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in their lifetime. Of those, 25 percent of people who misused prescription drugs by age 13 ended up with an addiction at some point in their life. These staggering statistics are driving the medical and dental community to take precautionary measures around prescription drugs, starting with adolescent education about substance abuse. This includes:
- discussing substance use and prescription drug misuse among adolescents
- explaining to adolescents why they are at high risk of developing a substance use disorder
- building trust and confidentiality with adolescent patients when addressing substance use and prescription drug misuse
With each written prescription, dental and health professionals are encouraged to determine level of risk for adolescent patients, discuss strategies to address drug misuse, and follow up with adolescent patients who show concern for prescription drug misuse. And while the intention for drug prescription is always to help aid in patient comfort, the dental-medical community knows how important it is to do whatever they can to try to reduce misuse and addiction of prescription drugs.
If you are concerned the possibility of prescription drug addiction or misuse in a friend or family member, please learn more: