In case you didn’t already know, opioids are a huge problem. Now, they’re not just effecting us, but pets as well.
New reports have come out of pet owner addicts taking their pets pain medication, and even purposefully injuring them to get their fix.
The problem mainly began with Tramadol, a opioid developed in Germany for pain relief in humans. It was then discovered that the drug was also effective in pets with no formula change. This makes it one of the only prescription drugs that can easily cross species lines.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) are helping states keep track of how opioids are being distributed, which can help prevent abuse. However, their strictness varies on a state-by-state basis.
New Hampshire has recently passed a bill that would allow veterinarians to be exempt from the state PDMP.
Some veterinarians are happy with this, as they do not feel like invading the privacy of humans when they don’t often prescribe Tramadol very often.
Arguments made in an interview with NPR was that vets will know when someone asks for a drug that is either not prescribed by vets or for a pet that is not in need that it is likely for an addict. Vets simply need to use common sense.
It’s a fair argument, but unfortunately, people have become more desperate.
A recent report is making rounds about an owner who repeatedly sliced her dog’s leg open in 2015 to get Tramadol.
Groups are now taking a stand against this “vet-shopping.”
Massachusetts vets are working with law enforcement to educate their colleagues about how to prevent these situations from going unnoticed.
Maine recently made it mandatory for vets to comply with using the state’s PDMP by checking the database to see if an owner is on drugs. As in the New Hampshire interview, not all veterinarians are comfortable with this level of access.
Regardless, It’s important to recognize the warning signs. No animal deserves to be used like this.