The dental office can be a target for a prescription drug abuser as they may be seeking prescriptions from the office. Paying special attention to medications listed on the medical history may not be sufficient for the patient suspected of abusing prescription drugs as the patient may downplay their use of substances in order to obtain new prescriptions. A key indicator that a patient may be “prescription seeking” is if they skillfully ask for drugs by name, dosage and number of tablets. This should alert a clinician to investigate further. One can call local pharmacies or look up statewide databases which track doctors' prescription-writing, pharmacy prescription-dispensing, and patients' prescription filling activities (Figure 11).
Figure 11. Questions to Identify the Drug-seeking Patient.
If you think a patient may be inappropriately asking you for drugs, consider the following questions: