Tag Archives: opioids

Dental profession weighs in on the opioid abuse epidemic

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: hjl via Flickr

In a “dear colleague” letter to dental professionals last month, American Dental Association President Carol Gomez Summerhays urged dentists to review their prescribing practices and more effectively counsel patients about the safe handling and use of medications, especially opioid painkillers.

Summerhays also urged dentists to consult databases maintained by state-run prescription drug monitoring programs that could help them identify “doctor-shopping patients” whose prescription histories may reveal drug-seeking behavior. Continue reading

Watch surgeon general’s speech at Health Journalism 2016 #AHCJ16

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

United States Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., (@Surgeon_General) spoke to attendees of Health Journalism 2016 and discussed how his administration will address the overuse of opioids in the United States.

A follow-up blog post will feature Murthy answering journalists’ questions after his prepared talk.

Dental study backs up surgeon general’s concerns about excessive opioid use #AHCJ16

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Deborah Crowe/AHCJVivek Murthy, M.D., spoke about work to end the opioid epidemic in the United States during his speech at Health Journalism 2016.

Photo: Deborah Crowe/AHCJVivek Murthy, M.D., spoke about efforts to end the opioid epidemic in the United States during his speech at Health Journalism 2016.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has launched a campaign to address an epidemic of opioid addiction that holds two million Americans in its grip. His drive not only focuses upon getting people who are already addicted into treatment, but upon preventing new cases of addiction by appealing to health care professionals – including the nation’s dentists – to consider alternatives when helping patients manage pain.

Addiction can begin with a routine prescription, Murthy has stressed.

“We want people to reach for non-opioids whenever possible,” he told awards luncheon attendees on April 9 during Health Journalism 2016. Continue reading

Murthy to release first surgeon general report on substance abuse, addiction and health #AHCJ16

Judith Graham

About Judith Graham

Judith Graham (@judith_graham), is a freelance journalist based in Denver and former topic leader on aging for AHCJ. She haswritten for the New York Times, Kaiser Health News, the Washington Post, the Journal of the American Medical Association, STAT News, the Chicago Tribune, and other publications.

Photo/Deborah Crowe/AHCJVivek Murthy, M.D., spoke at Health Journalism 2016

Photo: Deborah Crowe/AHCJVivek Murthy, M.D., spoke at Health Journalism 2016.

Everywhere he travels, Vivek Murthy, M.D., surgeon general of the United States, hears a similar plea from families.

Do something about the drugs ruining our communities and our families. Help us fight the opioid epidemic.

On Saturday, at the awards luncheon attended by hundreds of AHCJ members at Health Journalism 2016, Murthy promised to respond by mobilizing the medical community and issuing the first surgeon general’s report on substance abuse, addiction and health later this year. Continue reading

New tip sheet gives guidance for reporting on opioid use among the aging

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: Sharyn Morrow via Flickr

Photo: Sharyn Morrow via Flickr

Opioid addiction is at crisis levels in the United States. Over two million people are addicted to opioids, which include prescription painkillers, heroin and morphine. The total number of opioid pain relievers prescribed in the U.S. has skyrocketed in the past 25 years.

Data from the American Society of Pain Medicine (ASPM) indicate that of the 21.5 million Americans age 12 years or older who had a substance use disorder in 2014, 1.9 million involved prescription pain relievers.

The trend has led to more emergency department admissions and a tripling of overdose deaths. Continue reading