December 15, 2017

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‘Vet Shopping’ Underscores Desperation At Heart Of America’s Opioid Epidemic

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Owners are injuring their pets, and then taking them to different veterinarians to get opioids. Meanwhile, researchers are trying to understand why rural communities have been hit so hard by the crisis.

The Washington Post: The Horrifying Way Some Drug Addicts Are Now Getting Their Fix
It was the third time Heather Pereira had taken her golden retriever to the same neighborhood animal clinic in Kentucky. … Police said Pereira had been intentionally wounding her dog and “vet shopping,” visiting vet after vet to obtain prescription medication for her pet, then taking it. Although these cases appear uncommon, authorities say they underscore the nation’s widespread opioid epidemic, showing the lengths people go to obtain drugs for personal use or for sale on the street. They also say it’s a concern — one they want to get ahead of. (Bever, 1/23)

NPR: Opioid Abuse In Rural Colorado On The Rise Via Social Webs
A doctor handed Melissa Morris her first opioid prescription when she was 20 years old. She’d had a cesarean section to deliver her daughter and was sent home with Percocet to relieve post-surgical pain. On an empty stomach, she took one pill and lay down on her bed. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh, my God. Is this legal? How can this feel so good?’ ” Morris recalls. (Runyon, 1/23)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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