Learning Objectives

  1. Develop multimodal therapeutic plans for the management of perioperative, acute pain, including expectations
  2. Counsel patients and families and/or caregivers about opioid safety, including appropriate storage
  3. Identify signs of opioid misuse, abuse, and diversion
  4. Review current communication strategies for addressing opioid misuse, abuse and diversion

Target Audience

  • Medical Students: Years 1-3
  • Nursing Students: Advanced undergraduates; 1st and 2nd year Master’s degree candidates
  • Dental Students: Year 2-3
  • Physical Therapy Students (DPT): Year 2
  • Pharmacy Students: Year 3
  • Medical and Surgical Residents
  • Practicing Clinicians

Case Description

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since 1999 the sales of prescriptions opioids have quadrupled.  Currently an estimated 1 out of 5 patients with non-cancer pain or pain-related diagnoses are prescribed opioids. Now more than ever, the rational use of opioids is critical in appropriately managing pain, as well as reducing opioid misuse, abuse and diversion. In 2014, nearly 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids. This case centers on the appropriate prescribing of opioids for post operative dental pain. It describes the role of the pharmacist in identifying suspected opioid misuse, abuse and diversion. Finally the case presents an example of opioid misuse and diversion and the consequences of such misuse.

Potential Impact of Opioid Misuse Following Wisdom Teeth Extraction (Teenager) Education

  1. Improve knowledge:  Increase awareness of opioid risks including abuse, diversion, overdose and drug interactions.
  2. Change attitudes:  Engender attitudes in physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and patients that opioids are not the only treatment for acute pain.  Present drug and non-drug alternatives.
  3. Gain skills: Improve opioid prescribing for acute pain and improve opioid monitoring by pharmacists.








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