100 Million Opioids Prescribed For Tooth Removal Go Unused Every Year

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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More than 100 million opioids prescribed to people who had a tooth pulled go unused every year.

That is roughly half of opioids given to patients following surgery to remove a tooth, according to a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and School of Dental Medicine.

This could be indicative of, or at least correlated to the rise of opioid abuse that has pervaded the country over recent years. (RELATED: Laced Opioids Are Confusing Coroners And Health Experts)

“When translated to the broad U.S. population, our findings suggest that more than 100 million opioid pills prescribed to patients following surgical removal of impacted wisdom teeth are not used, leaving the door open for possible abuse or misuse by patients, or their friends or family,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Brandon C. Maughan.

Patients were given opioids for the extraction of wisdom teeth and most had plenty of pills left once the pain almost completely subsided.

The report recommends implementing a small monetary incentive for people who properly dispose of any extra or unnecessary painkillers. Increasing awareness by promoting critical information about opioid abuse and limiting the amount of provided pills could also help deter people from using the drugs when they are not needed, according to the assessment. (RELATED: Opioid Abuse Costs $78.5 Billion A Year And Thousands Of Lives, Study Finds)

“Given the increasing concern about prescription opioid abuse in the United States, all prescribers – including physicians, oral surgeons and dental clinicians – have a responsibility to limit opioid exposure, to explain the risks of opioid misuse, and educate patients on proper drug disposal,” Maughan continued.

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