Building healthy, smart, vibrant communities for all means ending the opioid epidemic

For the third consecutive year, Delta Dental is participating as the presenting sponsor of the Jamie Daniels Foundation’s Celebrity Roast. We sat down with Margaret Trimer, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana to talk about why Delta Dental continues to support this event, what the dental profession has to do with substance use disorder (SUD), and why she has been inspired to become personally involved with the foundation. Her expertise and thoughtfulness on this important topic are obvious. Here’s what she had to say:

Why is this event so important for Delta Dental to continue their support?

You cannot have a healthy community if you have a high degree of substance misuse.  Delta Dental wants a bright future for Michigan – and that’s why we are involved.

If we are going to fulfill our mission, we must address the issues associated with substance misuse. The Jamie Daniels Foundation Celebrity Roast is one way to bring necessary awareness to SUD. This broadcasted event puts the power of information into countless hands and helps raise necessary funds so that the use and misuse of substances can be prevented, and lives, families, and communities can be saved.

What does the dental profession have to do with substance use disorder and the opioid epidemic?

In 2018, Delta Dental was in the throes of trying to figure out our position on the opioid crisis, recognizing first and foremost that we needed to be part of the solution. The first time many individuals may have met an opioid is when they’re getting their wisdom teeth removed. For years, dentists were giving pain killers not realizing their addictive risks. We have learned that dental professionals must watch their practice, so they aren’t part of the problem.

What is Delta Dental doing to support the dental profession during this epidemic?

At Delta Dental, we are cognizant of communicating with both providers and members, encouraging the essential conversation between the two. We have continued to be keen on informing all constituents about opioids and their risks, participating in drug takeback days, and talking about other ways to alleviate pain from dental procedures.

We are seeing progress across the profession, but Delta Dental wouldn’t necessarily take credit for that – there has been an ongoing national dialogue about the reality of opioids. Over the years, the level of intensity on this topic has heightened the awareness among professionals. As a result, we are seeing far less prescriptions for opioids and fewer pills being given inside of a prescription. Use and misuse of opioids for pain has been curbed, which is good news.

But there’s still a lot of concern. The pandemic has increased substance misuse, and though people aren’t necessarily getting them in prescription form, there is a lot of access on the street to opioids and other drugs. Unfortunately, this crisis doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Though there is better control of the danger zones within the dental profession, Delta Dental persists in its involvement to eliminate the crisis as a whole.

In 2021, you joined the Jamie Daniels Foundation Board of Trustees. Why was it important to you to become a more active participant within the organization?

I have been moved by Jamie’s story, but I also recognize that his story is not isolated. There are so many families struggling with SUD. Some have paid the ultimate price and have lost a loved one; some still have the chance to save their loved ones or themselves. The Daniels family and their suffering should count, and Jamie’s life should not be in vain.

Jamie’s story and the Jamie Daniels Foundation has the potential to create high impact in helping families that are navigating the recovery side of substance misuse. Its message should be amplified across Michigan and beyond. This is very much about taking charge and managing this issue. To build something from the ground up is a rare opportunity. It is a very exciting to think about the potential Jamie Daniels Foundation has to create incredible impact, and I want to be part of that.

On a personal level, what would you like to share on this topic?

It is important for us to deal with the issue of stigma and shame for both family members and the individuals who are struggling with SUD. We have forever looked at SUD as not a disease, but a bad behavior that is born out of bad parenting or a bad family life. And I am here to say that my family has been affected, and my family is a pretty awesome family. Ken and Lisa are amazing parents and they dealt with this. People are affected with a high income or low income – this disease is not discriminating.

The judgement that people levy against families struggling with this is unfair and it must stop so we can have the kind of open and honest, problem-solving conversations. Because if you fear judgement, if you put your problem in the closet, you’ll never get to the other side or have the hope that is possible.

As a premier administrator of dental benefits, Delta Dental of Michigan is also a leading partner in preventing opioid abuse and is invested in recovery efforts that provide real, long-term change.

To learn more about Delta Dental, click here.

Photographed: Margaret Trimer, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana

To support the Jamie Daniels Foundation Celebrity Roast of Brett Hull, tune into Bally Sports Detroit on Monday, November 22 at 8pm or livestream on our website. Our silent auction is currently open for bidding, here.