Ontario’s governing body for dentists is drafting new guidelines for opioids to try to cut down on their over-prescription.
Addictions specialists said opioids, which include oxycodone and fentanyl, are being prescribed to people who could use less powerful and addicting medicine.
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“To put someone on these opiates for a longer term is just asking for dependency to occur,” said Dr. Mark Ujjainwalla, founder of the Recovery Ottawa clinic.
“Lots of patients, that's how they started, either with a dental procedure or an orthopedic procedure.”
Dr. Liela Ebrahimpoor said fellow dentists have to be careful a patient isn’t faking their pain to get a hold of opioids, which can then be sold.
“A couple of cases I felt threatened to prescribe the medication so I tend to monitor very carefully,” she said.
College has ability to stop dentists from prescribing
The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario said the rethinking of their guidelines is a reflection of current times.
That includes this week’s study results showing prescription drugs account for one in eight deaths of young adults in Ontario.
“Now with public awareness of the potential for misuse and abuse and diversion, we’ve reassessed the situation,” said David Mock, who speaks for the college.
The college said it has stripped two dentists of their ability to prescribe opioids in the last 18 months because of over-prescription.
Neither of those dentists practised in Ottawa.