Dentists Seen as Source for Prescription Pain Pills

Individuals addicted to prescription pain medications often turn to dentists as a source for drugs like codeine, Vicodin and OxyContin, CNN reported July 21.

Typically, users will work their way through the phone book, calling dentist after dentist complaining of tooth pain and asking for a prescription. “I kind of found out on my own that a dentist will prescribe you painkillers over the phone, instead of a doctor who you would most likely have to go in and see,” said Kenny Morrison, a Los Angeles chef who ironically got addicted to pain pills after having dental work, taking up to 25 pills daily at his worst point.

“The moment somebody hangs up the phone on me, I know that they’re literally going down the book,” said L.A. area dentist Jay Grossman, who serves on the California Dental Association’s disciplinary council. “They’re calling the next one in the Yellow Pages, hoping that someone will write them a prescription. If you’re an addict, one of your resources would certainly be a dentist.”

Grossman said most such callers are deterred when he starts asking detailed questions or suggests an office visit.

Doctor-shopping is a well-known way for individuals who misuse prescription drugs to get pain pills, but dentist-shopping is less recognized as a problem. Some users even try to get drugs from veterinarians.

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