The Journal of the American Dental Association released a commentary titled “The role of the oral health community in addressing the opioid overdose epidemic,” from the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow, MD, and Martha J. Somerman, DDS, PhD, director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

The commentary explains how the American Dental Association (ADA), recognizing the role dentists play in helping control the opioid crisis, has engaged with the leadership at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to discuss how the two organizations can work together to reduce the misuse of opioids. The commentary serves to highlight the relevant NIH-funded research and ways to ensure that this research reaches those in clinical practice and dental education.

“Dentists play a key role in addressing the opioid crisis. ADA’s new opioid policy has the potential to lead to further reductions in opioid prescribing for acute dental pain and may serve as a model for other clinical professions,” write Somerman and Volkow of the March 2018 issued policy change, which supports mandatory continuing education on prescribing opioids and other controlled substances, as well as prescribing limits on opioid dosage and dosage of no more than 7 days for the treatment of acute pain. The policy also recommends that dentists register with and use Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.