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New victims in opioid crisis: family pets

(IMG: WPMI) New victims in opioid crisis: family pets

There's alarming news of new victims in the growing opioid epidemic. Animal doctors say family pets are being hurt all so addicts can get their hands on more drugs. NBC 15's Andrea Ramey reports on the government's warning to veterinarians.

The FDA has put new rules in place to protect animals. A recent investigation outlines numerous cases where pets were harmed just so the owners could get their hands on opioid medications. It's something veterinarians are aware of, and they're taking steps now to ensure animals are safe.

"It's tragic because our goal is to relieve pain, relieve suffering and to provide the best care for an animal possible," said veterinarian Kristin Caudy.

Caudy's job as a veterinarian is to love and care for animals. She's appalled by those who would harm them.

"I don't even have words for it.. It's just atrocious, and I think anyone who would do that really needs some intervention," said Caudy.

THE FDA NOW WARNING ANIMAL DOCTORS OF A GROWING NUMBER OF CASES WHERE PEOPLE ARE STEALING FROM THEIR PETS TO GET THEIR FIX.....

"You have people who would hurt themselves and go into the emergency room for narcotics, and it makes sense they would do the same for their pets," said veterinarian John Bentley.

Bentley says after the feds busted pain doctors John Couch and Xiulu Ruan, he started getting lots of calls from people looking for drugs.

"We did get an upsurge in the calls for pain relief after that clinic closed," said Bentley. "And a lot of them weren't our clients, they were new clients trying to come in and wanting to know if we prescribed this or that. It was fairly obvious that they were here just for the narcotics.

"What doesn't make sense in the brain of someone not suffering from opioid addiction makes perfect rational sense to someone who is because if they don't have that opiate, they might as well not have food, not have water, not have air. They need that opiate," said Dustin Mets.

Mets runs a drug treatment center. He says this issue is a prime example of the dangerous pull of addiction..

"You have to understand that for someone suffering from opioid addiction, this is the most important thing right now this is survival," said Mets.

The FDA released a list of recommendations for vets that include:

  • using alternatives to opioids
  • educating pet owners about possible misuse
  • have a safety plan in place in case they encounter someone they believe has hurt an animal trying to get a hold of drugs
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