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Informed Consent Required for First Opioid Prescription to Minor in California

Under Senate Bill 1109 which takes effect January 2019, with a few exceptions, a healthcare provider is now required to discuss the following information with the minor, the minor’s parent or guardian, or other adult authorized to consent to the minor’s medical treatment prior to directly dispensing or issuing for a minor the first prescription in a single course of treatment for a controlled substance containing an opioid:

  1. The risks of addiction and overdose associated with the use of opioids.
  2. The increased risk of addiction to an opioid to an individual who is suffering from both mental and substance abuse disorders.
  3. The danger of taking an opioid with a benzodiazepine, alcohol, or another central nervous system depressant.

According to the new law, the informed-consent discussion is not required in the following situations: 1) when the minor’s treatment includes emergency services and care, and 2) when, in the prescriber’s professional judgment, obtaining informed consent would be detrimental to the minor’s health or safety, or would violate the minor’s legal rights regarding confidentiality.

Informed Consent in California Dental Settings

Communication is the key to informed consent. The California Dental Practice Act does not specifically require informed consent for dental treatment, except in cases of general anesthesia and conscious sedation, and now when issuing a prescription opioid to a minor. However, through disciplinary actions, the DBC has considered failure to obtain informed consent negligent or grossly negligent in many cases.

Contact your dental liability insurance carrier for specific recommendations and information on informed consent.

Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.

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