United Healthcare initiative seeks to prevent opioid addiction amongst teens

United Healthcare initiative seeks to prevent opioid addiction amongst teens
(Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - United Healthcare (UHC) wants parents to weigh all options when dentists prescribe opioids after removing wisdom teeth.

UHC said dentists give teens and adults opioids for excessive pain.

Doctors said the opioid addiction is a crisis both in South Georgia and nationwide.

According to United Healthcare, dentists and oral surgeons write one in 12 prescriptions for opioids, and 45 percent of the opioid prescriptions are for adolescents.

If your teen needs opioids for treatment Dr. Ted Wong, chief dental officer with UHC, recommends asking about alternatives.

“If it’s indicated that you do need an opioid, then ask about limiting or reducing the supply, the number of pills you get or the strength of the dosage of the opioid," said Wong. “We like to say go low and go slow.”

Doctors said you can return unused pills to the dentist or law enforcement, but they definitely recommend you don’t throw them away because people can take them and misuse them.

If you have to throw them away, experts said doctors have special bags you can put them in. Those bags deactivate ingredients in the opioids.

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