Oral surgeons educate dentists and doctors about the dangers of over-prescribing opioids

A group of oral surgeons spoke at an event designed to educate dentists and doctors about the dangers of over-prescribing opioids. The goal was to convince the 180 or so attendees to look for alternatives to prescribing opioids for pain relief after dental procedures. The event, hosted by the Center for Oral Surgery and Dental Implants in Grand Rapids, featured two speakers: A recovering heroin addict who recently had teeth removed and replaced, and an oral surgeon whose son died from a heroin overdose.

“Physicians and dentists were part of the problem,” said Dr. Omar Abubaker, an oral surgeon and chairman of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Dentistry’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. “And physician and dentists better come up and be part of the solution.” Abubaker’s son, Adam, died from a heroin overdose in 2014. Now, he speaks to group nationwide about the dangers of overprescribing opioids. Abubaker thinks the opioids his son was prescribed after shoulder surgery may have started him on the path to addiction. “There was nothing about him that was a warning sign, nothing,” said Abubaker of his son. “All of sudden, I find that he’s addicted.”

The other speaker at the event was Tyler Trowbridge, a recovering heroin addict who was homeless and on heroin, begging for money on Grand Rapids streets. Since then, with the help of an army of supporters recruited by a woman who went to high school with Trowbridge, the 34-year-old has gotten off heroin and into an apartment and a job. He’s back on methadone maintenance too, which helps ease painful withdrawal while he works on his recovery. Abubaker urged the attendees to help prevent addiction on the front end by prescribing non-opioid alternatives.

Reference: http://www.woodtv.com/news/grand-rapids/grieving-dad-oral-surgeon-urges-cuts-to-opioid-prescribing/1227451954
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  • I'm glad dentists and doctors are getting educated. That said, oral surgeons need to be educated, too. It's all too common for oral surgeons to send their patients home with RXs for Vicodin, Percocet, etc. after relatively minor tooth extractions. A lot of people go home and start taking those meds because they think they have to; because they were prescribed for them. We need to drastically change the pain-relief philosophy in this country.
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