NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J., Nov. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Dentists in New Jersey have proven they are committed to preventing the abuse of prescription pain medicine. In response to the worsening opioid abuse epidemic in New Jersey, the state's largest dental organization, the New Jersey Dental Association ( NJDA), released guidelines to its members on safe prescribing and dosing of opiate medications. The guidelines were released, November 3, 2016, at the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey's (PDFNJ) Do No Harm Symposium, a continuing education workshop designed to develop solutions to the opiate abuse epidemic by educating prescribers about safer prescribing, the scope of the opiate abuse epidemic in New Jersey, and the link between prescribed pain medicines and heroin abuse. The NJDA has also developed an informed consent document that provides an opportunity for dialogue between the dentist and patient or the patient's parent or caregiver about the potential for dependency, misuse and side effects, and the need to properly secure these medicines and dispose of them properly. This effort is the first comprehensive statewide initiative of its kind, in the nation, to address acute dental pain. "The dental community in New Jersey recognizes they have an opportunity to teach patients about abuse and overdose. The NJDA's mission, to provide ethical oral healthcare, extends to educating the public and ourselves about this devastating epidemic," explained Dr. Elisa Velazquez, chair of the NJDA Council on Governmental and Public Affairs and a pediatric dentist in Toms River and Manahawkin. "Alternatives to opiates for acute pain management, such as the pain experienced after a tooth extraction, are available and should be considered as part of the patient's treatment plan," explained Velazquez.