Opioid Abuse in the U.S. and Its Impact on Dental Education

Dates: May 25, 2016
Venue: Noon-1:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Webinar, Online

This year, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services issued an alert highlighting the devastating national prescription drug and heroin use epidemic.

Of the 2.5 million emergency department visits per year in the U.S. related to drug overdoses, 1.4 million are caused by prescription drugs. In 2013 alone, 71.3% of prescription drug overdoses were from opioids.

Physicians, internists and dentists are collectively responsible for providing 81.6% of opioid prescriptions. As treating pain is a daily routine for dentists, and since patients often see their dentist more often than their physician, dentists have a unique role in mitigating the impact of this epidemic—and it begins with health professions’ education.

Download the presentation slides.PDF

On Wednesday, May 25
ADEA held a special webinar: Opioid Abuse in the U.S. and Its Impact on Dental Education. In Massachusetts, three dental schools have taken the lead on this issue by joining forces and advocating for legislation that resulted in a required curriculum to train dental students how to prescribe opioids—including mastering competencies in counseling, communication and collaboration. 

ADEA was fortunate to have three dental education leaders, one from each of these Massachusetts dental institutions, Drs. Ronald Kulich (Tufts University School of Dental Medicine), David Keith (Harvard School of Dental Medicine), and Richard D’Innocenzo (Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine) to share how they secured a state-wide curriculum in dental education on the appropriate use of opioids in dental treatment. This webinar has broad implications for not only dental education, but also for all stakeholders in health professions education and practice.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Specify key events and statistics regarding opioid abuse in health care with a focus on dentistry.
  2. Discuss the “Massachusetts model” of bringing attention to, and leading change for, responding to opioid abuse at a state and national level.
  3. Identify implications for dental education and curriculum.


KulichRonald J. Kulich, Ph.D., is a Professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM), and a lecturer at Harvard-Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Medicine. His primarily responsibilities include developing and managing opioid risk assessment protocols for the MGH Pain Center and Facial Pain/Headache Center at TUSDM. His publications focus on questionnaire construction and outcome predictors with chronic opioid therapy. Additional responsibilities include developing treatment guidelines for work injury with specific focus on opioid therapy risk, and participating in the Mass Pain Initiative Public Policy Council and the MA Prescription Monitoring Program training committee. He is Co-chair of the Governor’s Committee for the Curriculum on Substance Abuse Assessment for Dentistry. Fellowship training responsibilities include supervising Anesthesia/Pain Medicine and Orofacial Pain Medicine Fellows, contributing to the behavioral sciences curriculum for TUSDM, and supervising psychology graduate interns within the pain centers. His patient clinical care and assessment activities include evidence-based use of screening/assessment with a range of chronic pain populations, and impact of public policy on access to pain care.

KeithDavid A. Keith, B.D.S., FDSRCS, D.M.D.
, is Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM); and Visiting Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Dr Keith received his B.D.S. from the University of London., and his D.M.D. from HSDM. His chief clinical interests include the management of orofacial pain and temporomandibular joint disorders and diseases. He has authored more than 100 articles, reviews or book chapters and has edited two books: Atlas of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeryand Surgery of the Temporomandibular Joint. Recently he served as Co-chair of the Governor’s Working Group on Dental Education on Prescription Drug Abuse. This collaboration among the Massachusetts state government, the Massachusetts Dental Society and the three Massachusetts dental schools aims to improve dental education and interprofessional collaboration in response to the opioid crisis.

Richard D'InnocenzoRichard D’Innocenzo, D.M.D., M.D.
, is Clinical Professor and Director of the Predoctoral Oral Surgery Education at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM), a Fellow of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and a Diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He received his D.M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and his M.D. from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. He completed his oral and maxillofacial surgery training in 1994 at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. D’Innocenzo joined the GSDM faculty in 2006. His areas of interest include predoctoral education, ambulatory general anesthesia, treatment of maxillofacial pathology and dental implantology. He has published extensively and is involved in various associations at the national level. He is currently the Vice President of the Massachusetts Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the predoctoral representative for the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Faculty Executive Committee. 

Lucas-PerryEvelyn Lucas-Perry, D.D.S., M.P.H.
, is the ADEA Director for Public Policy Research She conducts research into public health and other policy issues affecting academic dentistry and oral health. She authors white papers and articles, presenting findings to legislative, academic and lay audiences. Her areas of expertise include the Affordable Care Act’s effect on oral health, the Title VII Health Professions Education Programs, and the implications of these and other federal policies on integrated care. Before joining ADEA, she served as a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, where she focused on improving access to care for underserved populations. Dr. Lucas-Perry initiated the first D.D.S./M.P.H. dual program at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, her alma mater. She is currently a doctoral candidate in health policy at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and was recently named a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health. 

CE Information: 

The American Dental Education Association designates this activity for one (1) continuing education credit. CE credit is awarded for participation in the live webinar only.

An evaluation form will emailed to participants shortly after the conclusion of the live webinar. To earn continuing education (CE) credit for participation in the webinar, complete the online evaluation in full on or before Friday, July 8, 2016. After fully completing the evaluation, participants of the live webinar will have the opportunity to immediately print and save the CE Verification Form. 

The American Dental Education Association is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.



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