Following our two D.O.S.E. seminars, which were instituted to educate members of the Toledo Dental Society on new guidelines for prescribing narcotics, it became apparent that the opioid epidemic in NW Ohio and America-at-large is a multifaceted problem. This includes the following:
1. ADDICTION of our patients-- from young people to senior citizens--both legal & illegal drugs
2. DRUG LORDS-- making lots of money from selling their illegal products
3. DOCTORS-- uneducated & over prescribing legal medications
4. DOCTORS (very few) -- running RX Mills illegally
5. BIG PHARMA -- making lots of money on dependency
6. Non-DISPOSAL of legal drugs left over in medicine cabinets
Obviously, this is a huge problem with lots of blame to go around. While organized dentistry cannot solve the whole problem, as always, we can be on the cutting edge of prevention. And whether it's regarding the addition of fluoride to city water; educating our patients on snuff use and smoking dangers; or the consequences of drinking multiple cans, daily, of sugary drinks; dentistry has led the charge in educating their patients and the public at large.
Hence the purpose for the enclosed D.D.S sheet. We know it is NOT appropriate to flush medications or to dispose of them into refuge containers. This is not healthy for the environment or other living things. And while the community does offer DRUG TAKE-BACK DAYS…usually once or twice a year….what do you do on the other 363 days? ….on days when you decide to clean out your medicine cabinet?
The D.O.S.E. Committee's solution is simple. Print out the sheet on the opposite page and give it to any patient that you prescribe medications to. You will be helping your patients to clean out their medicine cabinets and may help avoid a tragic accident or worse… the start of an addiction problem. As health care professionals we owe it to our patients.