Reining in Prescriptions from Dentists to Combat Opioid Crisis

NJTV News | February 7, 2019 | Health Care
Leader in New Jersey dentistry wants to remove her profession ‘as a factor’ in the state’s drug epidemic

Dentists write 12 percent of all opioid prescriptions, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

“We want to remove dentistry as a factor” in New Jersey’s opioid epidemic, Dr. Elisa Velazquez, president of the New Jersey Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, said.

“Today, about 75 to 80 percent of new heroin users started out by abusing prescription painkillers first,” said Timothy McMahon, special agent for the New Jersey division of the DEA. He noted that one danger point is “[e]specially for young teenagers that may be getting their wisdom teeth taken out.”

On the bright side, McMahon said, “We have been seeing over the past two years the number of prescriptions written for … opioids have been going down across New Jersey which is a great sign. It means doctors are looking at other alternatives.”

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