Addressing the vital role of dentists in helping to alleviate the opioid crisis is the subject of a commentary, publishing today in the Journal of the American Dental Association. The commentary, authored by Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Dr. Martha Somerman, director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, both parts of the National Institutes of Health, highlights how the Institutes are working together to support scientific research for those in clinical practice.
In the late 1990s, dentists were the top specialty prescribers of opioids. Due to a number of initiatives, prescriptions by dentists dropped more than 50 percent by 2012. However, the authors argue that more needs to be done to continue to reduce opioid misuse and abuse. The commentary discusses several ways scientific evidence can help guide clinical care decisions.