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100 million prescription opioids go unused each year following wisdom teeth removal, study estimates

15:08 EDT 22 Sep 2016 | Medical Xpress

More than half of opioids prescribed to patients following surgical tooth extraction – such as the removal of impacted wisdom teeth – were left unused by patients in a new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine and School of Dental Medicine. The authors say the surplus is troubling given the ongoing opioid epidemic and evidence showing that individuals who abuse prescription opioids often use leftover pills that were prescribed for friends or family members. The study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, suggests the availability of prescription disposal kiosks in pharmacies and small financial incentives may increase proper disposal of opioids by more than 20 percent.

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