Course Description:


Drug overdoses now outpace traffic accidents as causes of death in the United States. Yet patients of any age deserve the relief afforded by pain medication. How can dentists—who write 12 percent of the nation’s opioid prescriptions—promote best practices without adding to the problem of substance abuse? “Examining Addiction” outlines considerations for practitioner and patient in a field that is evolving rapidly across myriad fronts.

Board-certified anesthesiologist Dr. John Hexem explains the mechanism of addiction in this one-hour CE. A member of the DOCS Education faculty who possesses more than 3 decades’ experience in clinical medicine, Dr. Hexem clarifies why what doctors don’t know can literally hurt. For example, withholding pain medication for fear of creating addiction not only acts against patient interest but flies in the face of abundant research.

Dr. Hexem’s presentation is designed to be watched in conjunction with “Assessing Substance Abuse,” the first of his ongoing series about pain medication. “Examining Addiction” discusses:
• Brain physiology
• New regulations
• Iatrogenic addiction

Get started

Discover how the general dentist can confidently approach the use of opioids and other necessary pain medications without adding to the problem of drug addiction.

Watch the video and complete the quiz to earn one CE credit. Sign up now.

Purchase of this course grants access for one year and requires an internet connection, computer with video and audio capabilities, and in some cases, Adobe Reader to view handouts and articles. 

You can download this course and watch it anywhere using the DOCS APP. Get it on Google Play or the Apple Store.

Scientific support and additional resources are available here. 



Upon completion of a competency course in enteral sedation, the dentist must be able to understand:   

  • Brain physiology 

  • New opioid and other regulations 

  • Latrogenic addiction 


Scientific support and additional resources are available here. 

(AGD Code - Definition - Hours)

157 (Electives: Substance Abuse) - 1 hour

TOTAL HOURS:   1 hour

Original release date: 9/13/2012
Reviewed/Updated: 12/24/2020


John Hexem, MD

Dr. John Hexem, MD is an anesthesiology doctor who practices in Saint Louis, MO. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Yale University, his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. He has extensive fellowship awards and diplomat status in the American Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Hexem spends much of his time treating patients with chronic pain. You can view his Curriculum Vitae here (

Education & Experience

Medical School & Residency

University of Pennsylvania Health System

Residency , Anesthesiology

Bryn Mawr Hospital

Residency , Internal Medicine

University of Pennsylvania Health System

Internship , Transitional Year

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Medical School

Certifications & Licensure

American Board of Anesthesiology

Certified in Anesthesiology

MO State Medical License

Active through 2020


  • The use of a PID controller to model vecuronium pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics during liver transplantation. Proportional-integral-derivative.O'Hara, D. A., Hexem, J. G., Derbyshire, G. J., Overdyk, F. J., Chen, B., Henthorn, T. K., Li, K. J.
  • Glucose and potassium metabolic responses to insulin during liver transplantation.Shangraw, R. E., Hexem, J. G.

DOCS online courses are available to the purchaser for one year from date of purchase.
No refund of course tuition is available.


How can I meet my state’s requirements?

To learn more about how DOCS Education’s full range of courses can satisfy your state’s regulatory requirements, visit This unique online resource is kept up-to-date with the latest in sedation legislation by DOCS Education’s fulltime regulatory counsel. Contact one of our course advisers with any questions or visit our course listings to see upcoming classes and locations.

DOCS Education courses carry the AGD PACE certification

DOCS Education is the nation’s premier provider of safe sedation and advanced dentistry education, having trained almost 24,000 dentists. Since 2000, our courses have been accepted by the AGD for Fellowship/Mastership and membership maintenance credit. We offer extensive CE opportunities, both in-person and online, that meet your needs.

What is DOCS Education?

DOCS Education is an exclusive community of professionals serving at the forefront of dentistry. We offer world-class courses on safe sedation and advanced dentistry, relying on instructors who are consistently ranked among the very best in the nation. We also are a supportive network of members who guide one another to be better, more confident, more successful dentists.