What is your role in preventing prescription drug abuse?

As Dentists, we are often the most accessible health care provider that can provide controlled substances to drug-seeking patients. I realize this sounds cold, crass and somewhat insensitive, but it is true. How many of us dread Friday afternoon emergency calls wondering whether the patient actually desires dental treatment or is trying to “con” us out of a prescription? We have been trained to provide the highest quality dental care by the use of dental imaging, intraoral cameras and cutting-edge technology. The skills that are necessary to detect a drug-seeking patient are those that rely primarily on discernment, and patterns. Don’t assume that all Friday afternoon patients that are unwillinging to initiate treatment are drug seekers. By the same token, you’re not obligated to provide narcotic relief to those patients that haven’t established a committed relationship with you by initiating treatment. Remember, your responsibility is to the preservation of your DEA and DPS license first…you can deal with a little conflict chairside!

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