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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Colorado: The Role of Veterinarians in Opioid Crisis

Animals, like humans, may receive opioids for pain. In many states, veterinarians and veterinary clinics can administer, prescribe, stock, and dispense opioids. As efforts to educate and monitor opioid prescribing by medical and dental providers have increased, individuals may try to covertly access opioids for their own use from their pets. In addition, leftover opioids from veterinary prescriptions can also result in diversion, misuse, or inadvertent exposure for members of the household. Access to opioids in the workplace can also lead to misuse by veterinary staff leading to overdose and death.

An online study of Colorado veterinarians found:

The role of opioids in veterinary staff suicides must also be examined. Suicide is more likely among veterinarians than among the general population — 1.6 times more likely for male veterinarians and 2.4 times more likely for female veterinarians. Veterinary technicians and technologists are also more likely to commit suicide than the general population — 5.0 times more likely for males and 2.3 times more likely for females.

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