Drug addicts aren’t just doctor shopping for themselves; some have resorted to using their pets to get prescriptions. A recent trend among drug users who can’t get drugs from their own doctors is trying to score them from veterinarians by claiming their dog or cat needs them.
Opioid addiction has seen a spike in recent years. In 2015, over 30,000 people died from an overdose of this dangerous drug according to the Centers for Disease control and Prevention. There are 1.5 million people who abused painkillers for the first time, according to reports based on data from 2013. So how are the two linked? keep reading to find out. For affordable drug rehab Raleigh NC services, be sure to call Legacy Freedom.
The Link Between Animal Abuse and Substance Abuse
While most vets aren’t going to prescribe pets opioids such as OxyContin, a favorite among drug users, they do often prescribe tramadol for pets who have had surgery or are in pain due to an injury.
Tramadol is a prescription opioid painkiller given to humans or pets for moderate pain. It is often given to people or pets who have had surgery. It works by binding opioid receptors in the brain to relieve pain. It is actually one of the least potent prescription pain pills available, but it is still addictive.
Brand names of tramadol are Ultram, ConZip and Ryzolt. It is known on the streets as trammies, chill pills and ultras. It is listed as a schedule IV substance under the Controlled Substances Act, while most are listed as schedule II substances.
Tramadol is not as strong as other opioids, so many people will mix them with alcohol, other painkillers, sedatives and cold medicines. When it’s taken with other drugs, it has the potential to become addictive. It is also more dangerous because, when it is mixed with another depressive, there is a risk of slowed breathing which can result in death.
Mixing tramadol with other drugs or alcohol also increases the risk of seizure or overdose. A 2005 study found that 84 percent of people who abused tramadol in high doses had seizures within 24 hours.
There are side effects of tramadol which can include nausea, vomiting, constipation, dizziness, headache, dry mouth and loss of appetite. These can be a warning sign that someone is abusing the drug.
If you think a loved one is taking tramadol without a prescription, call us at Legacy Freedom for information about our drug rehab Raleigh NC services. We know that the struggles of each person are different, so we offer many options for recovery. We offer outpatient programs so that you do not have to stop working or give up your other responsibilities in order to get the help you need. Keep reading to learn more about owners who use their pets to obtain drugs, and then give us a call to get help today.
People who become addicted to opioids will go to great lengths to get pills, including using their pets to get prescriptions. Here are a few instances that have occurred across the country.
A veterinarian in Louisville, KY noticed that a woman kept bringing her dog in for refills of the tramadol prescription he had given to the pet after sewing up a cut on the dog’s leg. The first time she claimed that her toddler had flushed the pills down the toilet.
After the third visit, the doctor became suspicious. The dog’s old wound had not even healed but he had another one. It appeared as if the owner had made a clean slice in the dog’s leg. It wasn’t the type of cut that you'd expect to see if the dog got into something outside or had a fight with another animal. The owner had been intentionally hurting her dog in order to get tramadol.
The vet notified the police and she was convicted of three counts of torture to a dog and five counts of obtaining a controlled substance by making false statements, which is a felony. She was sentenced to four years in prison, but was released after serving two years.
Other drugs prescribed to animals, like Ketamine and Valium, are also requested by owners trying to get it for themselves.
In Oregon, the police seized 100,000 tramadol pills from a house with 17 dogs that were not cared for. The four people arrested claimed to be breeding AKC-registered puppies but due to the large amount of pills found, the police believe that they were involved in a drug ring. They think they may have gotten the tramadol in a similar way, by using the dogs to get it from a local veterinarian.
Some vets have decided against prescribing medications because of this trend, while others have not seen a problem. Some states have electronic databases that can track controlled drugs prescribed to patients. This could be an option for vets if they want to report how they dispense drugs. However, this places extra work on the offices and may keep them from giving animals the drugs they need in order to avoid having to file with the program.
Until it becomes a bigger problem, there will be few regulations on prescribing drugs for pets. A sign that a pet owner is shopping for drugs is when he or she asks for something by name.
A doctor in Ohio found that was the case when a young couple came in with a dog, then asked specifically for tramadol, even though the doctor was going to prescribe something else. He later learned that they had taken the dog to three other veterinarian offices before his. The office was broken into a week later and their supply of tramadol was stolen. DNA led the police to the same couple. The office did not replace the drug and decided they would call in prescriptions as needed rather than keep it on hand.
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