PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, young adults prescribed opioids for the first time at the dentist’s office are at increased risk for addiction. Stanford University researchers looked at 15,000 16-to-25-year-olds who were prescribed the painkillers.
The study, titled ‘Association of Opioid Prescriptions From Dental Clinicians for US Adolescents and Young Adults With Subsequent Opioid Use and Abuse” was published Dec. 3.
Researchers believe that the extraction of third molars which is especially common among this age group is a factor in the rate of dental opioid prescriptions given to young people.
“The findings suggest that a substantial proportion of adolescents and young adults are exposed to opioids through dental clinicians,” researchers said.
Studies indicate that 6 percent of those young people were diagnosed with opioid abuse up to a year later.
In November, it was announced that Pennsylvania would receive a $10 million donation from Michael Bloomberg to fight the opioid epidemic.
“Pennsylvania has double the national average in drug deaths,” said Bloomberg. “It’s a place where there’s a big problem.”
Drug overdose deaths killed 5,400 people in the state last year. There were 70,000 deaths nationwide.
The declining life expectancy in the United States is blamed on skyrocketing drug deaths.