Why veterinarians need to be concerned about the opioid epidemic

Why veterinarians need to be concerned about the opioid epidemic

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The opioid epidemic has plagued the human medical industry and is now spilling over into another form of medicine. Users are finding more angles to get their fix, according to the FDA. 

A report cautions some owners may intentionally hurt their pets, with hopes of getting prescription painkillers from a veterinarian. 

Larry Farley, a veterinarian, has first-hand experience with the data in this report. 

"I have had people, like I've said in the past, I have had clients who lied to me to get drugs," Farley said. 

Farley said there's a wealth of info about this problem, especially in the past five years. He said vets need to be vigilant about it. 

"If you prescribe opioids for take-home medications, that's how they get abused. If you use them in your clinic, there's no problem as long as you can keep control of your drugs," Farley said. 

Charles Seifert, with Texas Tech's Pharmacy School, said they are pushing for the antidote (Narcan) to be more attainable. 

"If the pharmacist has someone they believe is at risk of an overdose, the pharmacist can go on and dispense it directly to the patient," he said.

The FDA says to watch out for signs of opioid abuse, such as if the client asks for refills of allegedly stolen drugs or if they ask for specific drugs by name. 

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