Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Sarah Wackerbarth

Committee Member

Dr. Julia Costich

Committee Member

Dr. Larry Cunningham


Opioid abuse has become a public health crisis over the last two decades. Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid to patients whose deaths are related to prescription drug abuse. On October 6, 2014, Federal law changed hydrocodone, an opioid-based analgesic, from Schedule III to Schedule II. This limits the number of ways it can be prescribed, including eliminating refills. This study examined hydrocodone and oxycodone prescriptions written across all dental clinics associated with the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and analyzed three different dental disciplines that perform procedures that require pain management. Prescription data was obtained through axiUm, the College of Dentistry’s electronic health record. The amount of hydrocodone as morphine milligram equivalents, number of pills, and number of prescriptions were assessed via a two-sided t-test to determine whether or not the legislation had a significant impact on hydrocodone and oxycodone prescription writing. Significant reductions of 27.4% of prescriptions per procedure and 26.0% of pills per procedure were noted among all UKCD faculty. No significant changes were seen with oxycodone prescription writing. Oral Surgery saw a significant reduction in two of the three categories: prescriptions per procedure and pills per procedure. General Dentistry saw a significant rise in decision to change hydrocodone from a Schedule III to Schedule II drug impacted the prescription writing habits of University of Kentucky College of Dentistry providers by reducing the overall amount of hydrocodone written across the college, however the impact within different specialties varied.

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