Opioid Crisis: Policy Changes Could Lead To Fewer Addicts

By , in Health on . Tagged width:

Across the country, it seems that unfortunately, the number of opioid-related deaths continues to surge. Back in 2017, the state of Wisconsin saw over 900 deaths.

In an effort to lessen the number of people who become addicted, changes are currently being implements. It seems that the United Healthcare made some changes to the opioid policy when it comes to prescriptions being written by dentists for people under 19 years old.

The scripts are limited to a three day supply and no more than 50 morphine ml a day.

Doctor Ted Wong, the Chief Dental Officer for United HealthCare, says that the latest data shows that dentists with United HealthCare only write about 12 percent of the opioid prescriptions, that percentage is much higher when broken out by age group.

“For the teenagers and young adults, dentists write about 45 percent of those opioid prescriptions like Vicodin, Percocet, and codeine,” Wong says.

The reason for which dentists write so many opioid scrips for young people 

The man also noted that there is a good explanation for the reason for which the UHC dentists write so many opioid scripts for young people.

It seems that these individuals have their wisdom teeth removed. But still, he said that it’s quite problematic to introduce such addictive drugs to such young people.

“Their brains are still maturing, so they’re even more susceptible to the addictive effects of opioids. And this is an age group that is more likely at higher risk to misuse or abuse,” Wong explains.

There are alternatives to opioids 

While pain management is essential, there are alternatives to opioids.

“In some cases, using a combination of Tylenol with Motrin, together, can be as effective or more effective than opioids without the risk of the addiction that comes with opioids,” Wong says.

As a conclusion, the pressure to reduce opioid prescriptions is massive.