Dentist accused of unprofessional conduct

Executive Board

A dentist in Washington was charged with unprofessional conduct for failing to record that patients were advised on opioid-related information, like overdose potential, according to the State of Washington Department of Health, Dental Quality Assurance Commission.

Also, Dr. John Lee Starks, who has practiced family dentistry in the Seattle area for more than 40 years, allegedly failed to check patients' histories in the prescription monitoring program before prescribing multiple opiate prescriptions to them, according to the statement of charges.

"The charges in this document affect the public health, safety and welfare," according to the charges, which were signed by Trina Crawford, executive director of the state dental commission.

In June 2021, Starks, of North Downtown Seattle Dental, stipulated to informal discipline, permitting a health department investigator to make unannounced visits at his practice to audit his prescription monitoring report for compliance with prescribing and patient charting standards and rules. The audit could occur up to one time annually for two years. If Starks failed to comply or the investigator found any violations, the dentist could face disciplinary action, according to the charges.

An audit revealed that the dentist allegedly failed to advise multiple patients of opioid addiction in violation of rules and standards. In at least one instance, Starks reportedly failed to document in the patient's chart that he advised of the following:

  • The risk of dependence or overdose
  • Patient management of opioid alternatives
  • The right to not take the medication
  • Drug take-back programs

Additionally, Starks purportedly prescribed multiple opiate prescriptions to several patients over a short period of time and failed to check or document what he checked in the patients' histories in the prescription monitoring program as prescribed, according to the charges.

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