Opioid Abusers Are Taking Their Pet’s Prescriptions

Pet owners taking their pet's prescriptions

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The media indicates to me that there is somewhat of an epidemic of opioid abuse in many US communities. In short, there’s an increased addiction to prescription painkillers. I think the same sort of trend is present in the UK.

I’d like to cross-reference that introduction with a news item that I have read today which tells me that some cat and dog owners are using prescriptions for their cats and dogs for their own use in order to increase their access to opioid painkillers.

Opioid painkillers are limited in terms of prescriptions for people. However, veterinarians can dispense whatever drugs they feel are appropriate for treating animals. And there is no limitation or restriction on the drugs that a veterinarian can write a prescription for.

Sometimes those prescriptions are opioid painkillers such as fentanyl and hydromorphone. Sometimes pet owners ask for the drug by name such as Tramadol, a powerful opioid painkiller. This should be a warning to veterinarians. I have even read that some cat and dog owners deliberately hurt their pets to get at these drugs. Some people are sick in the head.

It appears that the same client could go from one veterinarian to another presenting the same complaint regarding their cat or dog and receive the same medication from a veterinarian allowing a person to stockpile large doses of opioid painkillers, far more than he/she would ever be able to obtain from their general practitioner.

In addition, there appears to be the possibility that some of these drug prescriptions for cats and dogs are finding their way onto the street for resale. There would appear to be a need to introduce tighter controls on opioids at veterinary clinics.

A spin-off from this is that the cats and dogs are sometimes not getting their painkillers as prescribed. It could be argued that people who abuse opioids are not in the best position to be cat and dog caretakers/guardians.

Apparently, some veterinarians say that they take precautions by monitoring when pet owners come in to get prescriptions refilled. At one veterinary clinic, a veterinarian said that each of his five veterinarians write 3 to 4 opioid prescriptions a day on average. This particular veterinarian does not believe that the problem of diverting drugs for pets to humans is widespread. However, he does support tighter controls.

“I think there’s enough evidence now that there is enough abuse out there that it’s up to us to screen as well.” – Dr Eric Carnegy of the Carnegy Animal Hospital in Halifax.~

Source: cbc.ca.

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6 thoughts on “Opioid Abusers Are Taking Their Pet’s Prescriptions”

  1. Pain killers such as Tramadol and up for your pet are Controlled Substances. Tramadol is on the bottom of that list – but is still on the list! Vets and pharmacies MUST report the sale and use of these drugs (date, amount and for what pet). That’s a national database so therefore you can’t “doctor shop.” I once needed a couple extra Tramadol tablets for my dog but was turned down. Had to wait until the next “fill date” even though everyone knew me and my dog. “We aren’t allowed …”
    Drug users will do ANYTHING to get more drugs. Hurting an animal so he can get Tramadol for it isn’t out of their realm. They’ve even sold their dog for drug money! OK? People have sold their kids for drugs. Drug users are out of control and should be in an institution other than a prison. They used to be!

    Tramadol for a person is like taking 2 OTC “pain killers.”

  2. Why would a veterinarian prescribe a painkiller solely on the word of the pet owner? Wouldn’t the veterinarian want to first examine the pet to verify it is in pain? That should be a giant red flag. I have never met a veterinarian who would do such a thing.

    • I think what is happening is that the pet owner sees more than one vet and the vet sees the cat or dog and then prescribes painkillers but the pet owner asks for a specific type of painkiller one which is an opioid such as tramadol.

      • That’s tragic for people with legitimate and chronic pain. They really need relief in order to function normally. These drug abusers are causing the government to outlaw the only help for chronic pain suffers.


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