Opioid Addiction Among Dentists

A recent survey of dentists found that the majority believe that opioid abuse among their colleagues is a minor concern. But that same survey revealed that one third of those surveyed know of another dental professional with an opioid problem.

The survey was conducted online, with 198 respondents.

Dr. Glen Harmon, an oral surgeon in Des Moines, Iowa, says: “A dentist with a painkiller addiction is very hesitant to seek treatment because of the fear he or she will lose their license immediately. But in my experience licensing boards have recently taken a much more realistic view of the problem — recognizing that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. And like any disease, there is a course of treatment available.”

The survey also indicated that only 51% ever prescribed opioids for more than 3 or 4 days. And 5% of the group said they only prescribe opioids for the day following a procedure. Never more.