When it comes to the opioid crisis, many people fail to realize the impact that the veterinary care field can have on the issue. While many efforts have been made to educate physicians and dentists about opioids, veterinary clinics are another possible source of opioids that can be abused. Just as with humans, animals receive opioids to help them deal with pain. As such, veterinary clinics and veterinarians have to be registered with the US Drug Enforcement Administration in order to stock, administer, prescribe and dispense opioids. Unfortunately, research has shown that those who are addicted to opioids are using veterinary clinics as one resource for obtaining the drugs they desire.
So, how does this affect the opioid crisis and how does it impact animals? Sadly, a recent survey found that 13 percent of veterinarians know that an animal owner intentionally hurt an animal in order to obtain opioid medications. In addition, 44 percent were aware of opioid abuse or misuse by either a staff member or a client. Yet, only 62 percent felt they had a role in helping to prevent opioid abuse and 73 percent reported that their training in regard to opioid abuse or misuse was just fair, poor or nonexistent. Furthermore, 64 percent reported that they had never completed continuing education on best practices for prescribing opioids.
Clearly, while it is at no fault of an veterinarians who are currently in practice, not enough is being done to help regulate potential opioid abuse within the veterinary field. If you or someone you love is suffering from opioid addiction, contact Advanced Spine & Rehab to learn more about our suboxone program.