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Your Life, Your Health: Dentist hopes to curb addictions

CBS6 has been reporting a lot on the growing heroin addiction in the Capital Region. For many people, the addiction actually starts out with a prescription obtained by from a doctor or dentist.

CBS6s Julia Dunn sat down to speak with a former prescription drug addict. Hes 21-years-old, local and wishes to remain anonymous. He became addicted to Percocets he was prescribed following surgery on his leg. Pretty soon he was popping several pills a day.

It was part of my day-to-day. Wake up, take a pain pill. Go to class, come back, do it again. He says. It got to the point where I could no longer keep up with it. And then I started trying to find it elsewhere.

Hes been clean for months, but says it scares him to think what could have happened if his addiction continued. The road to heroin addiction begins with abusing prescription drugs when an addict runs out of pills.

There comes a day when a drug dealer cant get pills. But he can get heroin. And the people say, No, no. That isnt me. But they need something. So out of compulsion theyll say, Just this once Ill do the heroin and hell have pills next week. But the heroin is cheaper and more effective. He says.

Doctor Matthew Clemente is taking his own action against the local heroin epidemic. Once writing 15 to 20 prescriptions a day for patients that underwent oral surgery, his Troy dental practice stopped prescribing narcotics 18 months ago.

We stopped getting phone calls from patients asking for more narcotics. It just doesnt happen anymore. We dont have any more angry patients coming in her wanting to literally choke me to get more narcotics. Dr. Clemente says.

Dr. Clemente says he and other local physicians realized they were becoming a source for addicts. And it isnt just patients.

Ive seen parents get angry. Well have the oral surgery consult and theyll say that their son needs a narcotic. Well, he hasnt even had the surgery yet. In those cases, I think maybe it is the parent who is looking for the narcotic.

Going narcotics-free hasnt cost him business, he says his patients like it. Especially parents worried that their children may become addicted.

Dr. Clemente hopes other practices dental and medical in the community follow his lead.
 
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