Veterinarians administer, prescribe, and dispense opioids for very limited uses. But when our patients need these medications, it's critical that they receive them. Unfortunately, nationwide drug shortages and the opioid epidemic in the United States have impacted our ability to access important drugs.
As healthcare providers, veterinarians are concerned about the opioid epidemic and embrace our responsibility to help solve this public health crisis. Concerns about drug diversion are top-of-mind, and we follow thoughtful steps to promote the responsible use of opioids and help keep them out of the wrong hands. These steps include meticulous record-keeping and control of opioids, as well as a multi-modal approach to patient care that uses not only pharmaceuticals, but also other interventions to effectively manage pain.
Advocating for the profession
AVMA is working with lawmakers and regulators to protect veterinarians' ability to access, prescribe, and dispense opioids without compromising patient care. As lawmakers consider strategies to address the opioid epidemic, the AVMA is at the table working to ensure any policy decisions appropriately involve veterinarians and don't unnecessarily burden our profession or impede our access to medications. At the same time, we are having ongoing conversations with policymakers, drug companies, and other stakeholders to protect the needs of veterinarians and our patients until drug shortages are resolved.