The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) has unveiled a series of public service announcements aimed at raising awareness about the risks associated with prescribing opioids for wisdom teeth extractions. These 15- and 30-second videos address the issue of teenagers being prescribed opioids by dentists to manage pain.
“Through our PSA series, we shed light on the high opioid prescription rates by dentists for wisdom teeth removal,” said Angelo Valente, executive director of PDFNJ. “Understanding that exposure to opioids can lead to misuse, we strongly advocate for alternative, non-addictive pain medications to safeguard against the risks of dependency and addiction.”
Studies, including one tracking 12th graders into adulthood, reveal a heightened risk of misuse in those prescribed opioids before high school graduation. Often, the initial exposure to opioids for many young people occurs during wisdom teeth extractions. A finding from a 2018 Stanford University study showed that 6 percent of young patients developed opioid dependency within a year of receiving them to manage the pain of tooth removal.
PDFNJ’s PSA series seeks to increase awareness of safer, non-opioid alternatives for managing dental pain. Highlighting options like ibuprofen and other over-the-counter medications, the campaign aims to steer pain management after wisdom teeth extractions away from opioids, thereby reducing the risk of dependency.
For further information on the PSA series and the initiatives of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, visit drugfreenj.org.