Caring Health Center Secures Grant to Join Oral Substance Use Disorders Project

SPRINGFIELD – Managing dental pain in people with substance use disorders will become easier thanks to a pilot project in which Caring Health Center is participating.

Funding from the League of Massachusetts Community Health Centers will allow the Caring Health Center here to participate in the League’s Substance Use Disorders Pilot Project, launched last year.

The league recently received a grant of $ 18,000 of Delta Dental in Massachusetts to increase the number of community health centers participating in the project from five to seven. Caring received $ 5,000 of this money to join the pilot project this year.

The project is designed to refine, promote and share through webinar training sessions safe prescribing practices in the management of dental pain in people with substance use disorders that may have an impact. significant impact oral health. One of the first steps Governor Charlie Baker took to tackle the state’s opioid addiction crisis in 2015 was the creation of his Dental Education Working Group on prescription drug abuse. This lead to program changes better educate dental school students on the prevention of such abuse.

Dennis Leonard, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Massachusetts, said in a statement that “the coronavirus pandemic and limitations in social interactions have widened the gap between SUD patients who need treatment and those who actually receive treatment “.

“The health centers in this pilot project will refine best practices for engaging with SUD patients, and the League will immediately share this work through webinars and training for the benefit of all dental offices in community health centers in the state, ”Leonard said.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has contracted with the League, a nonprofit organization whose members are the state’s 52 community health centers, to award a four-year grant of federal funding to the Health Resources and Services Administration to seven members to create oral health substance. use the learning disability network to integrate oral and behavioral health.

Michael Curry, SU President and CEO, said the pilot learning network has already helped “to further identify patients with SUD and connect them to essential supports for treatment and recovery that they need. need ”.

The pandemic has exacerbated existing behavioral health issues for many people, and dentists during part of the pandemic were only open to treat emergency conditions.

Compassionate plans to attend webinar sessions and use the grant to treat dental problems that may result from substance use disorders, such as tooth loss and decay.

Dr. Lucila Bruno, general dentist and chief dental director of Caring, said her department “is committed to supporting the community in all aspects that affect overall health.”

“We are grateful for this learning opportunity and are currently engaged with the League in an effort to improve screening for substance use disorders by training our providers to be open, knowledgeable and assertive in approaching substance use. our patients and to provide referrals for assessment and treatment. as needed, ”said Bruno.

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