Mercy Health offers alternative treatments to prevent addiction - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mercy Health offers alternative treatments to prevent addiction

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Hospital emergency departments have become quite popular among patients seeking treatment for dental pain.

"It might be a surprise to most people, but the number one utilization of hospital EDs, not only in Ohio but in our country, is for dental services," said dentist Dr. Frank Beck with Mercy Health's Dental Clinic in Youngstown.

Nearly 10 years ago, Mercy Health recognized this increase, which prompted them to change the way in which they care for those patients.

"Most emergency departments are unable to render definitive dental care.  The patients would be discharged with a prescription and unfortunately a pain medication, most often opiates," said Dr. Beck.  "So, in order to circumvent that problem, what we actually developed was a definitive care clinic."

Instead of immediately sending patients home with pain pills, St. Elizabeth sends them to the Mercy Health Dental Clinic.  If it's closed, patients are typically treated with an anesthetic block and sometimes sent home with one or two pain pills, but then they're referred to the dental clinic the following day for evaluation.

Another effort they've undertaken to help reduce the opioid crisis is to screen patients who come to the hospital seeking specific drugs through Screening Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment or SBIRT system.

"Those individuals showing up with a positive SBIRT score and those individuals that are OD and Naloxone revived actually will get an opportunity to be directly linked to one of our facilities so that from ED to treatment," said Dr. Beck.

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