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Opioid Overview

Since the 1990s, when the amount of opioids prescribed to patients began to grow, the number of overdoses and deaths from prescription opioids has also increased. From 1999 to 2018, more than 232,000 people died in the United States from overdoses involving to prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In 2018, an average of 41 people died each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, totaling nearly 15,000 deaths. While prescription opioids were involved in 32% of all opioid overdose deaths in 2018, there was a 13.5% decrease in prescription opioid-involved death rates from 2017 to 2018.

As future dentists, dental students need to be prepared to prescribe opioids responsibly, which includes communicating risks and being aware of signs of misuse.

ASDA Policy

ASDA wants to ensure students are able to effectively discuss opioids with their patients. ASDA’s B-13 policy states: 

The American Student Dental Association encourages all dental schools to provide education on evidence-based prescribing as outlined in the CODA-accreditation Standards. 

ASDA urges dental schools to provide resources for dental students to appropriately address opioids with their patients. 

ASDA encourages the American Dental Education Association to create resources that establish evidence-based prescribing practices for dental school clinics.

 What has ASDA done?

  • On April 10, 2018, more than 500 ASDA members lobbied Congress to create legislation that would: 
    • Require continuing education for opioid prescribers.
    • Impose prescribing limits of no more than seven days for the initial treatment of acute pain.
    • Support the use of prescription drug monitoring programs. 
    • Improve the quality and integrity and interoperability of state prescription drug monitoring programs. 
  • In November 2018, ASDA’s Council on Advocacy hosted the Combatting the Opioid Epidemic webinar to help students effectively discuss the crisis. The webinar provided up-to-date opioid information and examined how experts from different fields are working together against opioids. 

What ASDA Members are Saying:

Opioid Resources