ADA calls on dentists to fight Rx abuse

The ADA is voicing its support for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on September 29 by urging dentists to counsel their patients on how to safely secure and dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired pharmaceuticals.

ADA President William Calnon, DDS, noted that dentists, as prescribers of narcotic pain medications, are well-positioned to educate patients about the drugs' potential danger.

The DEA periodically holds Prescription Drug Take-Back Days to provide an opportunity for people to bring their unwanted or expired medications to disposal sites. The last Take-Back Day in April yielded 276 tons of prescription drugs. A list of approved disposal locations can be found at the DEA's website.

Prescriptions drugs have become the most commonly abused drugs among children ages 12 to 13 and second to marijuana among young adults, according to 2010 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Most are obtained from family and friends.

The ADA is encouraging patients or their caregivers to visit the Medicine Abuse Project website to learn more about how to prevent drugs from becoming a source of abuse in their household, the organization noted in a press release.

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