In a recent survey by the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 adults in America experience mental illness and those in the dental community are no exception. In fact, according to a 2020 ADA study, 92% of dentists agreed that COVID-19 challenged their mental health.
The ADA is seeking to change this. The goal is to help create an environment of wellness within our dental community and avoid reaching a point of crisis before addressing mental health.
For some resourses, click the link below:


Substance Abuse and Well-Being

The Nassau County Dental Society is committed to aiding our colleagues in addressing substance use disorders and related mental health issues. The New York State Dental Association’s Committee on Substance Abuse and Well-Being provides a statewide network of dentist-peers who are available to assist members, their families, and the dental office staff in addressing problems with drugs or alcohol. The Committee includes dentists who have experienced both the devastation of addiction and the effectiveness of intervention and treatment in their own lives. Funding is available for dentists who need in-patient treatment but do not have the financial resources to get it.

Practicing a profession while impaired can result in a charge of unprofessional conduct. When you speak with our Peer Assistance Coordinator, Dr. Bob Herzog, or any of the Committee’s members, your interactions are confidential and non-punitive. When a dentist’s license is at risk, the Committee can help the dentist protect his/her license and privilege to practice through the New York State Education Department’s Professional Assistance Program (PAP).

If you or a colleague is struggling with substance abuse and/or related mental health concerns, it is easy to get help. Contact Dr. Kathy Leibowitz, 631-433-8227; Dr. Bob Herzog, 716-830-3055; or Ms. Jacquie Donnelly at NYSDA, 518-689-2750. Your call is confidential.

Visit NYSDA's website for mental health resources and information related to opioid prescribing:

ADA Report and Policy Update

The use of nicotine-containing products has changed significantly as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and vaporizers have become devices with huge commercial potential. The initial aim of these devices was to help smokers reduce their tobacco consumption and quit the habit; however, evidence has shown that these devices have rapidly become popular around the world, predominantly among young people who have never been smokers. Healthcare providers need to adapt to the trend regarding patients' alcohol and tobacco consumption to account for this. Questions related to e-cigarette and Cannabinoids use that should be incorporated into the health history include the product type, duration and frequency of use, time of use, simultaneous use of other products, and general and oral health symptoms associated with use. Evidence-based tobacco product cessation strategies, including behavioral counseling, are recommended to help patients discontinue use of these products. The ADA also joined 50 other health groups asking members of Congress to cosponsor the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019. The bill creates stricter regulations for vaping devices and liquids, including controls on sales, advertising, flavoring and more.

ADA Policy on Provision of Dental Treatment of Patients with Substance Use Disorders

  1. Dentists are urged to be aware of each patient’s substance use history, and to take this into consideration when planning treatment and prescribing medications.
  2. Dentists are encouraged to be knowledgeable about substance use disorders—both active and in remission—in order to safely prescribe controlled substances and other medications to patients with these disorders.
  3. Dentists should draw upon their professional judgment in advising patients who are heavy drinkers to cut back, or the users of illegal drugs to stop.
  4. Dentists may want to be familiar with their community’s treatment resources for patients with substance use disorders and be able to make referrals when indicated.
  5. Dentists are encouraged to seek consultation with the patient’s physician when the patient has a history of alcoholism or other substance use disorder.
  6. Dentists are urged to be current in their knowledge of pharmacology, including content related to drugs of abuse; recognition of contraindications to the delivery of epinephrine-containing local anesthetics; safe prescribing practices for patients with substance use disorders—both active and in remission—and management of patient emergencies that may result from unforeseen drug interactions.
  7. Dentists are obliged to protect patient confidentiality of substances abuse treatment information, in accordance with applicable state and federal law.


Synthetic cannabinoids (“synthetic marijuana,” “Spice,” “K2”) are various manmade chemicals that some people may use as an alternative to marijuana. These seemingly innocent little packages of “fake weed”  can cause serious side effects that are very different from those of marijuana.

Cannabinoid drugs which have received approval from the FDA for prescription use are Syndros and Marinol (synthetic THC is the active ingredient in both), Cesamet and Epidiolex (CBD).


Marijuana is different from CBD. CBD is a single compound in the cannabis plant, and

marijuana is a type of cannabis plant or plant material that contains many naturally

occurring compounds, including CBD and THC.

  •  The FDA has approved only one CBD product, a prescription drug product to treat seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut syndrome (LGS), Dravet syndrome (DS), or tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in people one year of age and older.
  • It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.
  • The FDA has seen only limited data about CBD safety and these data point to real risks that need to be considered before taking CBD for any reason.

Drug overdose deaths reached another record level in the United States this spring, new data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows, as 2023 is on track to be another devastating year amid the drug epidemic.

the latest data through April shows that about a thousand more lives were lost in the past 12 months than in the year before that. There were 111,355 overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending April 2023, compared with 110,394 deaths in the 12-month period ending March 2022.




Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol; 2024 Feb 01; 137 (2)93-94; AR Santos-Silva, BNFL Martins, MA Lopes, et al.


ADA Cannabis: Oral Health Effects

Cannabis: Oral Health Effects

Cannabinoids &Modes of use

Medicinal and OTC Cannabis for Treating Medical Conditions

Oral Effects of Cannabis Use


American Society of Addiction Medicine

Marijuana and Public Health

Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

Mayo Clinic: Drug Addiction, Marijuana and Depression

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Drugs of Abuse 

Last Updated: October 26, 2023