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Dentist prescription of painkillers opposed

The prescription medicine OxyContin is displayed August 21, 2001 at a Walgreens drugstore in Brookline, MA. The powerful painkiller, manufactured to relieve the pain of seriously ill people, is being used by some addicts to achieve a high similar to a her
Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

In a bid to curb opioid addiction, Canadians are starting to question the routine prescription of painkillers by dentists.

The Ottawa Citizen said local residents have expressed concern with the practice of dentists prescribing OxyContin to teenagers whose wisdom teeth are taken out, especially after a study revealed that opioids are now the leading cause of death among young adults in Ontario.

The group cited the narration made by Conservative MP Terence Young on how young adults became addicted with prescription painkillers and are now undergoing methadone treatment.

“Is there any way to get a message to dentists that this is an overuse of medication? For getting wisdom teeth out, all you need is Tylenol, and it’s foolish and irresponsible to give young people such powerful painkillers when they’re getting their wisdom teeth out,” he said.

Brady Granier, COO of BioCorRx Inc., stated “prescription opioids are a gateway to heroin use and the subsequent spiral that ensues. So many lives can be saved by simply breaking the routine prescribing of opioids in situations where it’s most likely not warranted.”

Young also cited the methadone clinic owner who said many young people are now coming to her clinic because of OxyContin addiction. Some dentists are said to give a bottle of pills to their patients.

Dr. Norman Buckley, director of the Michael G. DeGroote National Pain Centre and chair of the McMaster University department of anesthesia, said dentists are among the high sources of opioids in Ontario. He said 30 to 40 percent of opioid prescriptions were issued after dental surgical procedures.

“Only in a minority of situations is an opioid required for any dental procedure,” Dr. David Mock, dean emeritus of the University of Toronto faculty of dentistry and member of the national advisory council on prescription drug misuses, said.

He said over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen are enough to ease the pain.

Opioid abuse has long been a problem not only in Canada but also in the United States.

Although more and more people are becoming addicted to painkillers, patients also face challenges as they try to quit.

Health solutions companies like BioCorRx Inc. (BICX, http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=BICX) have started developing unique treatments to address the usual problems that cause relapse among patients.

BioCorRx’s Start Fresh Program addresses both the physical addiction and the emotional or psychological triggers that push a person to abuse drugs.

Instead of prescribing another set of anti-addiction pills, the Start Fresh Program offers clients an outpatient procedure to have a naltrexone implant inserted under their abdominal skin. Naltrexone, unlike other opioid antagonists, is not addictive.

And since it is implanted, it prevents the patient from skipping their daily dose of Naltrexone. Naltrexone, which blocks the part of the brain that triggers addiction or craving for addictive substances, is among the most effective medication that addresses alcohol and opioid addiction. The procedure lasts less than an hour and the effect will remain for several months.

The company has already opened up distribution of its program branches in many U.S. states including California, Arizona, Nebraska and Connecticut. Its one-on-one life coaching, which is the other part of the treatment, can be done online, through video conferencing for those who live far from their clinics.