Prescription pain medication (opioid) awareness

Drugs prescribed for reducing pain are involved with more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. In fact, drug overdose deaths doubled from 2004 to 2013.

And, in Wisconsin, drug overdose is now the number one cause of accidental death – even more deadly than motor vehicle crashes.

What is Wisconsin doing?

Wisconsin’s new Electronic Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, or ePDMP, launched on Jan. 17, 2017. All dentists, as well as other providers with prescriptive authority and pharmacies, are affected.

The program gives all providers and pharmacies access to an information database to help identify patients who may be drug seekers before writing prescriptions for “monitored prescription drugs.”

Wisconsin dentists are also required to fulfill two hours of continuing education with opioid prescribing courses.

The Dentistry Examining Board approved Best Practices for Prescribing Controlled Substances Guidelines in April 2017. These guidelines emphasize, among other things, the use of over-the-counter treatments whenever possible. They also encourage dentists to think critically about whether prescribing opioids best serves the patient in each scenario.

Dose of Reality

The state Department of Justice and Attorney General launched a “Dose of Reality” campaign in September 2015 to alert Wisconsinites to the dangers of misusing prescription pain medications. The Attorney General meets annually with third-year students at the Marquette University School of Dentistry to discuss this and other efforts.

The WDA is one of the many health care organizations actively supporting this campaign.

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