Opioid Use in Colorado Also Coming from Pet Medications

August 21, 2018Diana Lengerson

Opioid use has quickly become an epidemic across the country as thousands of individuals have become addicted to these painkillers over the years. In turn, long term rehab programs have been found to be excellent helps for people who struggle with these strong addictions. Some of these addictions have happened organically with patients discovering that it was too hard to wean themselves off the drug after the injury or not finding any other good ways to deal with their chronic pain. However, others have turned to opioids because they are often an easy drug to find or to purchase on the streets.

One of the reasons for increased opioid use around the country is the increased number of prescriptions for opioids given out by well-meaning physicians. These physicians may see individuals in the emergency room and write out quick scripts. They may be surgeons who prescribe something for pain following a routine surgery. Because they are not the patient’s regular physician, they do not have the necessary relationship with these individuals to know if an opioid is a right choice.

In Colorado, there has been a surge in opioid use from a strange source. Rather than getting the drugs from prescriptions that have been written for humans or even found illegally on the streets, many people have started turning to an unlikely source. They have discovered that their pets also receive prescriptions for opioids when they are in a great deal of pain or healing from certain injuries. Rather than using these prescriptions solely for the health of their pets, these individuals fill the prescriptions only to use them on themselves.

Not only are hurting pets not receiving the medications that they need but also some pets are being intentionally injured so that their owners can get their desired prescriptions for opioids. Tramadol and hydrocodone are the options most often prescribed by veterinarians rather than the typical options for humans, such as Vicodin.

There is certainly hope in any of these circumstances. With rehab, numerous patients have discovered that they can still lead full and happy lives. Rather than only following short-term programs that may provoke relapse, patients are encouraged to follow long-term drug rehab programs for the best long-term success and the least chance of addiction recurrence.

Effective Long Term Drug Rehab Programs should follow several guidelines for patients to see the best results. First, the program will walk participants through withdrawal and a variety of other concerns for a long period to ensure that patients have the emotional, physical and mental support that they need for the best results. These treatment centers also employ a variety of treatment modalities. While medications may be used in some cases, especially during initial withdrawal symptoms, most patients do quite well with non-medication-based programs. These programs often rely on behavioral therapy for changing habits. Patients may also have individualized therapy sessions as well as group therapy. Family members may be asked to get involved to receive the support that they need.

Long-term rehab for addiction is defined as a program that lasts for longer than 30 days. However, most of these programs last far longer than this with patients receiving support for months and years into the future. This prevents relapse and gives patients the strong support systems that they need to be able to rely on when temptation comes. Research has shown that the best success comes for patients who stay in rehab for opioid addiction for a minimum of three months.

Today, there are numerous other options available for pain control, especially for patients who have chronic pain. Massage and chiropractic care have proven to have great results for people with back or neck pain. Other people have had excellent results with acupuncture or acupressure. Even yoga and other gentle stretching exercises have helped people with joint pain or headaches.

Although opioids may still be the right choice for temporary relief of pain in some individuals, they are definitely not right for everyone. Doctors must approach the use of these drugs with great care, making sure that they understand their patient’s individual needs. Even veterinarians must now take special care not to hand out opioids to their pet patients without first considering the family and the history of usage. Thankfully, when opioid use does become problematic, there are helpful solutions for rehab, counseling and other physical and mental care solutions.

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