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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. While this increase in prescription painkillers is supposedly for pets, opioid addicts may be taking advantage of the situation. Below is more on animal opiates and the drug epidemic.
Veterinarians may prescribe different medications to pets. When a pet is in pain or needs to be sedated, sedatives and painkillers may be prescribed or administered. Unfortunately, many of these substances are drugs that can be used by humans, as well. As a result, many pet owners “vet shop” (similar to doctor shopping) to try and get different veterinary controlled substances to use for themselves.
Common prescription drugs for pets can differ from those used in humans, particularly opioids. Whereas Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet are commonly prescribed narcotics for humans, animals are more likely to be prescribed opioids like:
Unfortunately, all of these common veterinary medications are often abused by people, specifically pet owners.
More than 932,000 people have died from a drug overdose since the opioid epidemic started in 1999. In 2020, there were 91,799 drug overdose deaths in the United States. The main driver of these cases is synthetic opioids, with 82.3% of opioid overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids.4 Surprisingly, a contributor to the opioid epidemic has been the abuse of animal opiates and other medications, such as tramadol, fentanyl, ketamine, hydrocodone, and trazodone.
Because prescription opioids are difficult to obtain without a prescription, many users will take their pets to different veterinarian offices to get more medications. Rather than give their pets these medications, however, owners will abuse them. An unfortunate way that many pet owners get vets to prescribe opioids to their pets is by injuring their own pets, thus placing innocent animals in the crosshairs of the opioid epidemic. Despite animal opiates being prescribed under different names and doses, they’re similar to those given to humans and can therefore be misused in a similar manner and be just as addicting.
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 our addiction treatment facilities, we can help you or a loved one find sobriety with the support of our opioid detox and addiction treatment program.
Through a clinical assessment, our specialists create a treatment plan designed to meet the individual’s needs. Whether this means starting with medically assisted detox and jumping into inpatient care or starting at an IOP (intensive outpatient) level of treatment, we’re here to help patients recover no matter where they are in their addictions.
For more information about our opioid addiction treatment and Banyan rehab locations, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 or send us your contact information so we can reach out to you.