Rise In Use Of Benzodiazepines Amid Opioid Epidemic Highlighted

by Billy Tarpley on October 8, 2019

From ADA Morning Huddle, 10/7/19 – CNN (10/4, Hare) reported on its website that amid the opioid epidemic, “the rise in use of benzodiazepines” has become a growing health concern. Benzodiazepines “are a class of medication commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety and insomnia,” with familiar brand names including “Xanax, Ativan, Valium and Klonopin.” CNN cited research “that showed the number of adults filling a benzodiazepine prescription in the US increased 67% between 1996 and 2013, rising from 8 to nearly 14 million.” The article added, “According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines rose from 1,135 in 1999 to more than 11,537 in 2017, driven by the combination of a benzo with an opioid – something so dangerous the FDA has begun issuing black-box warnings against mixing the two drugs.”

        The ADA’s official policies and statements on alcoholism, drug addiction, and other substance use disorders (including the opioid crisis), as adopted by the ADA House of Delegates, can be found at ADA.org/advocacy. Follow all of the ADA’s advocacy efforts, policies, and positions on opioids at ADA.org/opioids.

        As a public service, the ADA Center for Professional Success website is now offering free access to information on safe prescribing, online continuing education, and other tools for managing dental pain, especially for patients who are at risk for drug overdose or addiction. For more information, visit Success. ADA.org/opioids.

        ADA CE Online offers the courses Safe and Responsible Prescribing of Opioid Analgesics and Pharmacotherapeutics for Dental Practitioners: Analgesics Clinical Implications.

        In addition, the ADA Catalog features the brochure The ADA Practical Guide to Substance Use Disorders and Safe Prescribing.         The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provide information on oral analgesics for acute dental pain for dental professionals.

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