Pets Are in the Crosshairs of the Opioid Epidemic | Banyan Treatment Center

Pets Are in the Crosshairs of the Opioid Epidemic


While many communities throughout the United States have been working to reduce the number of opioids prescribed to patients, there are some patients who have fallen through the cracks – our pets.

From 2007 to 2017, the number of opioids prescribed by the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine rose by 41%. But the number of annual visits rose by only 13%. 1 This is a troubling trend nationwide, where there is an increase in prescription painkillers for pets, but opioid addicts may be taking advantage of the situation.

The Opioid Epidemic and Pets

Opioid prescriptions have been declining in many communities around the country in hopes of reducing the rates and dangers of opioid addiction. But, many addicts are still searching for their fix. While some turn to illegal drugs like heroin, others are taking another route – stealing their pet’s drugs. Some publications suggest that opioid addicts are going as far as harming their pets so their furry friends get prescribed opioid painkillers that can be stolen and used for human consumption. 2

This is a shocking connection between pets and the opioid epidemic, but not one that should go without concern. There are many dangers of opioid addiction, including frightening signs of overdose and deadly risks. The FDA has released recommendations for vets looking to treat pain conditions in pets. They suggest using alternative drugs instead of opioids for pets, educating pet owners, and future potential requirements for improved reporting of prescribed opioids.2

Treating Opioid Addiction

Pets are the latest group affected by the dangers of opioid addiction. But addicts are often the ones who are hurt the most by active addiction. At Banyan Treatment Centers, we can help you or a loved one find sobriety from opioid addiction. We offer heroin addiction detox, heroin addiction treatment programs, opiate detox, inpatient care, outpatient care, and an addiction stabilization program.

Call 888-280-4763 to learn more about our treatment options for opiate addiction, including medically monitored detox.


  1. WebMD – Are Some People Using Their Dogs to Get Opioids?
  2. WJLA – Family pets are being hurt so addicts can get opioids from veterinarians
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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