”To fight America’s opioid epidemic, lawmakers and regulators have clamped down hard on doctors’ prescribing practices.
But one avenue for obtaining prescription opioids appears to have been overlooked, according to a new study.
Millions of Tablets
Veterinarians are prescribing large quantities of opioids to pets, raising concern that some people might be using Fido or Snuggles to feed their addiction.
Opioid prescriptions from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine rose 41% between 2007 and 2017, even though the annual number of visits increased by just 13%, researchers found.
Penn Vet handed out 105 million tramadol tablets, 97 500 hydrocodone (Hycodan) tablets, and nearly 39 000 codeine tablets during the study period, results show.
Not Just For Pets
It’s very likely at least some of these drugs wound up being used by humans, said Emily Feinstein, executive vice president of the Center on Addiction.
The US opioid crisis led to roughly 50 000 overdose deaths in 2017, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Americans now are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than from a car or motorcycle crash, a fall, drowning or choking on food, a report issued Tuesday by the National Safety Council concluded.
Read more at Health 24