Every year, more than 27,000 people lose their lives to opioid overdose in the United States. As statistics show rapid increase in fatalities over the last two decades, there is growing evidence that the opioid epidemic is possibly the worst drug crisis Americans have ever witnessed. Not created overnight, the epidemic has affected people regardless of their age, gender, wealth, location or social status.
While various drug control agencies, like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), have been working effortlessly to control the situation, the figures have reached an alarming level.
Though there are many contributors to the opioid epidemic, the most recent that has come to light is drug diversion in the veterinary medicine field, commonly referred to as vet shopping. As the U.S. observes the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, this article aims to highlight some facts about how vet shopping has been contributing to the opioid abuse menace.
Vet shopping as a contributor
Though an understanding of since when has drug diversion in vet medicine been used is lacking, in the last three to four years, multiple cases have been reported across the U.S. This has brought special focus to the various alternates that drug addicts are smartly finding nowadays in order to get their fix.
Back in 2002, a case was reported wherein a dog owner had taught his dog to cough in the presence of the veterinarian so that he could get hydrocodone cough syrups that he was addicted to. In a rather recent case of 2014, a 23-year-old woman was sentenced to four years in prison because of multiple charges related to animal torture and falsely obtaining prescription medicine for herself by intentionally injuring her dog and taking her to different vets.
In another shocking incident of Portland, Oregon that came to light in late 2016, the police rescued 17 dogs living in a very bad condition and arrested four people, who claimed they ran a breeding center. They seized 100,000 tramadol pills from the possession of the arrested men. The police suspected it was a case of secret opioid trafficking ring.
Laws for tramadol
Multiple such cases of illegal use of prescription drugs, especially tramadol, have been reported over the last few years and the number is on a rise. There are various reasons that seem to be contributing to it; one of them being the dirt cheap tramadol, 1,000 pills of which cost $25 compared to a single dose of oxycodone costing $10. Another reason is restrictions on prescribing and selling prescription analgesics.
Tramadol abuse grew rapidly also because when in 2014 the DEA categorized it as a Schedule IV drug (drug with a low potential for abuse relative to substances in Schedule III) in spite of its relatively less price, it left the implementation part to the states keeping no check on its consumption.
While the federal agencies are now making attempts to fix the damage, fact is that the situation has actually reached a stage where it has become extremely difficult for them to be able to quantify the impact.
In order to make the failed federal policy work, it is imperative for the government and these agencies to make amendments in some of the existing regulations in a way that control over the situation begins to show its results in a year or two itself. Unless that happens, the epidemic control seems quite unlikely, and drug addicts will continue to torture their pets or find other ways to keep their needs satisfied.
Lend a hand
Take a step ahead and contribute to improve the situation. If you or someone you know has a history of prescription drug abuse, then don’t let time pass by. Contact the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline to seek professional help. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-450-1557 or chat online with our medical advisors to locate the best prescription drug abuse treatment clinic in USA.