Summary of “For Many Teens, the Battle With Opioid Addiction Starts With Wisdom Teeth”

In a study published in JAMA on Monday, researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco found that among around 15,000 patients aged 16 to 25 who received opioids from their dentists, almost 7 percent went back to a healthcare provider for additional opioids between 3 and 12 months later.
Nearly 6 percent were diagnosed with opioid abuse within one year after the initial prescription.
In contrast, only 0.4 percent of patients who were not prescribed dental opioids were later diagnosed with opioid abuse.
Almost 100,000 were prescribed opioids at least once in 2015, and 30 percent of those prescriptions were written by dentists.
About 75 percent of opioid prescriptions were for hydrocodone-acetaminophen, better known by brand names like Lortab, Norco, or Vicodin.
Those numbers are pretty worrisome given that the U.S. is currently battling a crisis of opioid abuse that’s ravaging large swaths of the country.
“We’ve known for some time that there’s a relationship between the exposure to opioids, especially over a long period of time, and people becoming addicted to opioids. One of the places people are exposed to opioids first is when they have their wisdom teeth taken out. Patients will get a 30-day prescription of oxycodone, and if you start taking it for 30 days, the risk that you’ll continue to find and take oxycodone is pretty substantial.”
A 6 percent increased risk of opioid abuse may not seem high, but it’s significant when you consider how many people that affects, especially when the risk is avoidable.

The orginal article.