FDA releases opioid resources for veterinarians

Published on August 28, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a new resource to help veterinarians play a constructive role in addressing the human opioid crisis.

“While opioids are a small part of the veterinarian’s medical arsenal for treating pain in animals, stocking and administering these drugs also makes it important for veterinarians to understand how they can help combat the abuse and misuse of pain medications,” the guide says. In addition to providing links to AVMA and other opioid-related resources, the guide offers warning signs that veterinarians can look for to identify clients or employees who might be abusing opioids.

The guide also outlines six key actions for veterinarians:

  • Follow all state regulations on prescribing opioids
  • Follow all federal regulations on prescribing opioids
  • Use alternatives to opioids
  • Educate pet owners about safe storage and disposal of opioids
  • Know what to do if a pet overdoses on fentanyl or other opioids
  • Have a safety plan, and know the signs of opioid abuse

The FDA provides helpful links and information related to each of these actions, including resources provided by the AVMA or produced with AVMA assistance. AVMA members also have access to numerous additional resources at avma.org/Opioids, including information on how to combat drug diversion and details of opioid-related state regulations.

Like our members, the AVMA is committed to fulfilling the veterinary profession’s role in addressing the human opioid epidemic. As lawmakers continue considering strategies to address the opioid epidemic, AVMA is working to ensure that policy decisions appropriately involve veterinarians and do not unnecessarily burden our profession or impede our access to needed medications.

Reminder: Free opioid CE available through Aug. 31

AVMA also is working with veterinary anesthesiologists to provide information on opioid-minimal protocols and multimodal approaches to pain management that support safe analgesia for your animal patients. AVMA collaborated with VetBloom to produce an educational webinar on this subject, which is available free of charge to AVMA and NAVTA members through Aug. 31. Use the voucher code AVMACE2018 at checkout on the VetBloom website to take advantage of your free member access, which includes downloadable resources that you can use in your clinic.


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