Campaign to Target Dental Opioid Abuse and Misuse

Dentistry Today


The Medicaid|Medicare|CHIP Services Dental Association (MSDA) has launched a national campaign aimed at reducing opioid use for post-surgical dental pain management. It will target state Medicaid agencies, health plans, professional educational institutions, and providers to inform them about the risks associated with opioid overprescribing, as well as the availability of effective opioid alternatives. 

MSDA also will seek partnerships with stakeholders across various sectors to identify solutions to the overuse and abuse of opioids by the dental community. Pacira BioSciences is the first partner to join the initiative. Together, these partnerships will aim to build and implement a national strategy to increase awareness, educate, and change the trajectory of post-surgical dental pain management to a multi-modal, opioid-free approach.

“We are excited about the potential to meaningfully affect change for Medicaid beneficiaries through this educational initiative aimed at decreasing the number of patients receiving and filling opioid prescriptions after oral surgery,” said Mary Foley, MPH, executive director of MSDA. 

More than half of the opioids prescribed in common oral surgery procedures remain unused, resulting in more than 100 million leftover opioid pills every year, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania.

Recent research has elucidated a strong connection between filling an opioid prescription immediately before or after wisdom teeth extraction and long-term opioid use, with young people ages 13 to 30 nearly three times as likely as their peers to still be filling prescriptions weeks or months later,” said Dave Stack, chairman and chief executive officer of Pacira. 

“We can do better. This collaborative with the Medicaid|Medicare|CHIP Services Dental Association is a real opportunity to change the trajectory of postsurgical opioid use for oral surgery patients. We look forward to getting started,” said Stack.

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