How far has the opioid epidemic reached? Even pets are no longer immune to the dangers it brings.
Pets Harmed On Purpose?
Many people who get addicted to opioids are actually those who were legally prescribed with the drugs in the first place. That is why it has become increasingly important to deal with the crisis straight from the doctors’ clinics.
However, pets can also be prescribed with opioids for pain management, and some veterinarians worry that this may be exploited by some people who are looking to get opioid prescriptions. Unfortunately, such a prospect is said to be largely overlooked.
For a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus conducted a survey on 189 Colorado veterinarians in regard to how opioid abusers may be using veterinary clinics to get the drugs.
The results revealed that 13 percent of veterinarians believe or have suspected that they have seen a client who purposefully injured their pet, made them ill, or made them appear to be ill just so they can get an opioid prescription.
Meanwhile, 45 percent revealed that they know of a pet owner or team member who was abusing opioids. Another disturbing find was that 12 percent of the veterinarians admitted that they were aware of a staff member who is abusing or illicitly distributing opioids.
Veterinary Clinics Overlooked
The results of the survey showed that veterinary clinics have been overlooked in regard o the opioid epidemic. Thus, veterinarians are calling for improved surveillance efforts, better training, and more research.
On the part of CU Anschutz, in collaboration with the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, they designed an online training for veterinarians, focusing on opioid prescription guidelines and best practices.
“Our results indicate that we should be paying more attention to how opioid abusers are seeking their drugs — including through veterinary clinics. We want to see healthy people and healthy pets,” said Lili Tenney, one of the study’s lead investigators.
On the issue of animal abuse, strengthening regulations may help prevent such occurrences. So far, even if the American Veterinary Medical Association considers reporting suspected animal abuse a responsibility of a veterinarian, only 17 states have mandatory reporting laws.
Opioid Epidemic Affecting Innocent Members Of Society
The opioid epidemic continues to affect many people’s lives. In fact, despite the many regulations and new guidelines set in place, more and more people still get addicted to opioids, leading to overdoses and even death.
It was only recently revealed that more and more pregnant women have opioid use disorder during delivery, which could lead to the newborn possibly experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Now, in light of the results of the survey, it shows just how far the opioid epidemic has reached, so much so that it is already harming innocent pets in more ways than one.
In recent months, some pets have experienced accidental opioid overdoses as a result of sniffing or playing with the substance by accident. Even working dogs are not safe from the epidemic, as several working dogs have also reportedly accidental opioid overdoses during operations.