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Area dentists ready to take on opioid epidemic

"I think putting limitations on prescription drugs, especially one like an opioid that can be so highly addictive, is necessary."

Posted: Mar. 28, 2018 10:27 AM
Updated: Mar. 29, 2018 7:02 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Dr. Eric Barnes with Dental Center of North Iowa won't deny his occupation is known to play a role in the opioid epidemic.
“Dentists are a huge role, almost one of the most common providers of opioids is dentists,” Barnes said.
At the same time, Barnes says you'd be surprised how often patients may try to take advantage of him being able to prescribe them.
“People you know once or twice a week are looking for that. You have to stand your ground whether they're 20 or 80, you have to look them in the eye and say for your safety this is the best thing for you,” Barnes said.
Dr. Barnes is all for new guidelines being put on people like him coming from the American Dental Association. Proposed changes for dentists include limiting an opioid prescription to last no more than seven days for acute dental pain. Barnes says he only prescribes an opioid to last nearly three at most.
“I think it’s great. I think putting limitations on prescription drugs, especially one like an opioid that can be so highly addictive, is necessary because again people and some dentists aren't as educated as they should be to know that's not the best way to treat this,” Barnes said.
Other policy changes for dentists will include mandatory education in prescribing painkillers. Along with dentists registering with and using the prescription drug monitoring program, this is meant to deter misuse and abuse of the pills.
Barnes says using Tylenol or ibuprofen is equal if not better than opioids. That's according to the most recent article published in the journal of American Dental Association.

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