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Drug abusers intentionally injuring pets to pocket pain medication


By Cynthia Gould

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBMA) — The opiod drug epidemic hitting new lows.

Veterinarians and pharmacies across the country are reviewing cases in which dogs and cats have been injured on purpose. Their owners then "vet shop" to get their hands on pain medications intended for their animals.

While Alabama and other states require pharmacies to log medications on Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to try and prevent abuse, veterinarians were exempted from the requirement in 2016 in Alabama.

The most sought after pet medication by drug abusers is Tramadol. Pharmacists warn the public to store animal prescriptions in a safe place just as you would medications for humans and safely dispose of unused pills.

To learn more about safe disposal practices:

Where and How to Dispose of Unused Medicines

Some of the signs a pet owner may be "Vet shopping"

  • A new patient bringing in a seriously injured animal
  • Describing symptoms that seem inconsistent with the exam
  • Requesting a certain medication by name
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