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New recommendations published in the Journal of the American Dental Association aim to help dentists reduce prescription drug abuse.  Dentists, who prescribe 12 percent of immediate release opioids in the United States, can play an important role in minimizing the potential for misuse or abuse, Science Daily reports.

“Dentists write the third-most prescriptions for immediate release opioids in the United States, but they often don’t know the appropriate number of doses to prescribe, how many doses a patient uses, or most importantly what patients do with the leftover tablets they have,” lead author George Kenna said in a Brown University news release.

Recommendations for dentists include discussing with patients whether they need a painkiller, and how likely they are to use it; prescribing smaller quantities and limiting refills; not writing prescriptions for patients the dentist doesn’t already know, being suspicious of patients who say their drugs were lost or stolen; using state prescription monitoring databases, if available, to verify a patient’s drug-use history; telling patients to destroy or lock up unused medicine; and locking up prescription pads.

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