vet-shopping

Addiction can cause individuals to do many strange things in an attempt to get their substance of choice. Obtaining and using the substance becomes their primary motivation in life. And they will often do anything to get it, including lying, stealing, and cheating. In a recent trend noticed, addicts have been exploiting veterinarians to obtain opiates.

Vets can prescribe pain medications to their patients, but their patients obviously being animals. When an animal comes in with a painful condition like a break, cut or illness, they can prescribe these meds to ease the pain. Unfortunately, addicts have been abusing the vet’s ability to do this by getting drugs for their animals and using the drugs themselves. It has reached such an extent in some circumstances, that the addict owner of the pet will injure their animal several times to get more of the meds. They will then go to various vets for the animal’s injury so that they can obtain multiple prescriptions.

Not only is this dangerous and abusive to the animal, but it puts vets in a precarious position because they may often not know that this situation is occurring. At one point, there was even an addict who had trained his dog to cough at the vet’s office. According to an article from Pharmacy Times in 2002, “One other dog owner was addicted to hydrocodone cough syrups. This owner also visited several veterinarians a month with his dog, but with a different twist. The pet owner had his dog trained to cough while with the doctor. This went on for some time until we put a stop to the drug offenses.”

Could Increased Regulations Stop Vet-Shopping?

Fortunately, some vets are aware enough to recognize these circumstances when they arise. If they repetitively see an animal with new injuries, they may catch on that something is fishy with the situation, which can help them to do something about it.

The reality is that when it comes to vets being able to prescribe pain medications, they are not nearly as regulated as a typical medical doctor.  Whether this increased exploitation of veterinarians by addicts should be curbed by further regulation is under debate. Some vets say that it does not happen often and that additional regulation would merely make it more difficult for vets. There is also the argument that placing further regulations on vets prescribing pain meds would make more addicts aware of the ability to do this, and would do more harm than help. While it is valid that many do not know that vets prescribe some of the same medications that medical doctors do, there is also the reality that this situation should not be necessarily left alone either. It could be disastrous if more addicts did realize this possibility, and began to exploit it.

When Searching for a Drug or Alcohol Treatment Center

Addiction can be a dangerous condition to let continue along its path. Allowing addiction to progress can put the person in dangerous and even life-threatening situations. They run the risk of potential overdose or accidents that occur while under the influence. It is critical that those struggling with addiction receive treatment as soon as possible to help prevent it from getting worse. When it comes to rehab centers, it is essential to find one that is going to fit the addict best.

There can be vast disparities in the quality and offerings of different treatment centers, so one must be found that fits the wants and needs of the addict. Our staff can help to explain the various treatment centers and options and help to locate the best center for you or your loved one.

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