The desperation of opioid addicts has reached a fever pitch. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has declared a State of Emergency on the opioid crisis. Now the family pet has become a way for addicts to obtain painkillers.
In Kentucky a woman was arrested for purposefully cutting her dog with a razor. She took the golden retriever to different veterinarians, so she could get the prescription painkiller, Tramadol. She used the pills for herself, because Tramadol produces an opioid-like high.
In Maryland Dr. Kristy Bennett, DVM, has seen a woman make up excuses in her clinic at Montgomery Village Animal Hospital.
"She came in with a very elaborate back story about why... only the specific drug would work for the dog's pain," said Dr. Bennett about the woman seeking a prescription for Tramadol.
"There was a long story of why she couldn't afford to do X-rays ...so that we could verify the dog's condition. But very specifically requesting Tramadol. And then, very shortly thereafter, requesting refills sooner than she should have run out of the medication."
Dr. Bennett said she does catch on to the suspicious activity.
Watch the video above to find out an addict's excuses.
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Ultimately, veterinarians do have the right to withhold medication, if they deem the pills unnecessary for treating the animal, according to Dr. Jason Bollenbeck, DVM, President-Elect of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Bennett says veterinarians do socialize with each other. They learn to be aware of suspicious behavior from a drug-addicted client.
While under the influence of drugs, Matthew says his heroin habit took hold of his behavior. "When you're in active addiction, you'll do whatever it takes to get that next high," said Matthew who had a female cat with diabetes.
"We had to give her insulin through a cat syringe. And the addict in my mind said, 'Use it for what you need it for too.'"
So instead of insulin, the cat syringe would be laced with heroin.
After months of rehab, Matthew lives a clean life surrounded by a loving family. He encourages others to have the courage to reach out for help.
Explore a map of a few local treatment centers by clicking on "Start Exploring" below: