Drug Addicts Using Pets To Get Pain Pills From Vets
Drug addicts are known for doing anything to obtain their next high. Now, addicts are using their pets to try to get their hands on pain killers. Yup, believe it or not, this happens much more than you think.
In fact, a recent case happened a few weeks ago in Vancouver, Washington, according to the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association (WSVMA).
Monique Feyrecilde works in a veterinary hospital and never wants to see a pet in pain. However, it saddens her to know that drug addicts are now using their pets to get their hands on pain prescriptions.
“Why do you work at the vet? Because you love animals and you want to relieve animal suffering. We don’t want to see animals that are painful. We don’t want to see them hurting. If we can relieve their suffering in any fashion, we’ll always do our best to do so,” said Feyrecilde, a licensed veterinary technician at the Mercer Island Veterinary Clinic.
Sadly, there have been ongoing cases at Mercer Island Veterinary Clinic in which owners claim their pets are in pain in order to get a prescription that they then use for themselves. These cases stretch back to 2009 in which several Seattle-area clinics reported a woman posing as a client to get Tramadol. Feyrecilde says the woman went far enough to even impersonate the client to call in medications for her own animals.
“The pharmacy… good for them. They called us to verify because they had gotten multiple prescriptions that would have run out before the expiration date,” Feyrecilde said. “And so they called us to verify ‘Oh, this seems like it’s an error. It doesn’t make sense.’ And we said, ‘Well, we don’t call in prescriptions for that. We always use a written prescription because it’s a controlled medication.’ And so that’s what set off an alert for us.”
To help detect the practice, Feyrecilde said every Tramadol pill that’s prescribed is now required to be logged. The WSVMA even sends alerts to clinics each time a suspected drug seeker is reported.
“I find it horrifying that it happens. It makes me really sad. Really sad. But addiction is a crazy thing,” Feyrecilde said.
Thankfully, Feyrecilde hasn’t witnessed any local cases of addicts intentionally harming their pets to get their hands on pills. She hopes it never gets to that point.
This is not just happening in Washington. It is happening everywhere. A similar article was posted out of Atlanta, Georgia at Peach tree Hospital. It is hard for veterinarians to believe that their pet owners want anything but the best for their pets. Sadly, in recent years, many vets have started to train themselves for drug addicts who may be using their animals to score pain medications they can not easily access.
In many cases, a pet owner will simply tell a vet that their child flushed the meds down the toilet. Next, the vet will allow them to retrieve more medication when in fact, the pet owner is using the drugs for themselves. Even more shocking, some pet owners are actually harming their pets on purpose to get access to pain medications.
“We would never think of people using or abusing these drugs,” Dr. Duffy Jones, owner of Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, told CBS News. “We typically believe what people tell us and we don’t want a pet in pain, but now we’re taking a bit more of a critical look at exactly what the client is like and what the dog is like — does it fit?”
A major red flag are new customers. Typically, those trying to score drugs will hop from vet to vet in order to avoid looking suspicious. Now, vets are keeping an eye out for patients who ask for pain medication off the bat. In those cases, vets are advised to look for a drug-free, safe alternative to treat the injured animal.
“We’re really looking for things that don’t match up,” Jones said. “As we start to question the owner, we look at the owner’s response.”
“It’s just as bad because if a dog’s in pain, they really need them,” Jones said.
Overall, this is a sad, yet devastating outcome of the opioid crisis that is often overlooked. It definitely signifies how addiction takes over a person’s life and leads them to doing unheard of things. How can vets prevent situations like these? Please do not let your drug use get to this point. If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance use disorder or mental illness, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.
Author: Shernide Delva