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Those with drug addictions in Utah will soon have a place to go for dental care: The University of Utah's School of Dentistry.

The school has received one of 16 federal grants to serve groups that often are ignored. The school announced the $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration on Thursday.

Glen Hanson, interim dean, said in a news release that substance abusers have notoriously poor oral health, "whether it's tooth decay and loss caused by methamphetamine abuse, or infections and diseases in the mouth related to other drug problems."

The grant also will give dental students the experience of working with substance abusers, who often have complex problems, he said.

The school will work with treatment agencies including First Step House and Odyssey House to identify patients, and should be able to serve 200, the news release said. Care will be offered at U. Health Care's Greenwood Health Center or the School of Dentistry. It is expected to begin in the next couple of months.

Kristen Moulton

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