D.K. Foreman – Personal Blog

Archive for July, 2017

Satan’s Altar Call – Opioid addicts turn to pet medications to get high

by on Jul.09, 2017, under 2017 Year

A disturbing new trend in the opioid crisis.

Veterinarians say that addicts are now stealing pain medication from their own pets, even reports of owners intentionally hurting their pets to get their hands on prescription.

“To think about an animal in pain because the owner is abusing it is the last thing we want to think about,” said Dr. Lisa Ciucci, veterinarian and owner of Gardens Animal Hospital in Palm Beach Gardens.

Addicts are so desperate for their next high, that as a last resort veterinarian Lisa Ciucci says they are now after their pet’s prescriptions too.

“People get blacklisted,” said Ciucci. “There are names that get bounced from vet to vet that says don’t work with this person, don’t prescribe them medication.”

A Kentucky woman was arrested in 2014 accused of purposely cutting her dog with a razor just to get the pup’s prescription for herself. Ciucci says she hasn’t seen an incident that severe yet herself, but at her clinic she says addicts do try to game the prescription refill system.

“They’re always quick in naming what pain medication they would like us to prescribe,” said Ciucci.

The most common requests include the pain-killer Tramadol, anxiety medication Xanax, and Valium, which treats muscle spasms, anxiety, even seizures. And, if simply asking fails, addicts sometimes flat out lie to get a prescription refilled.

“Usually it’s that the dog jumped on them and they spilled everywhere and they just can’t find them or pick them up — that seems to be the most common excuse,” said Ciucci.

To make sure she’s being told the truth, Ciucci says she always gives the pet a thorough physical exam. But if the symptoms don’t match what the owner’s saying, Ciucci has the difficult job of telling the addict no.

“Do they ever get upset with you?” we asked.

“O yeah, absolutely,” said Ciucci.

“What do they do?”

“They start blaming, throwing accusations, being rude because they want the response of, ‘okay, here’s your medication’. And so when you stand your ground and don’t give them the medication, you get an upset client.”

Ciucci says she’s never had any physical threats. But, in today’s wild world of pet prescriptions she finds herself walking a morality tightrope she’s never experienced before.

“We train, we live, our entire existence is to do the best for the animals…to have to think about, ‘do i have to deprive a patient of something they need in order for not having it be abused by the owner’ is a terrible thing,” said Ciucci.

The problem’s gotten so out of control that some veterinary schools now teach how to handle addicts that try to abuse their pet’s prescriptions.

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