WYCKOFF, N.J. -- Training their dogs to cough -- and even purposely injuring them -- are among the ruses that addicts have used to get prescription opiates for themselves, says a state lawmaker from Wyckoff who aims to curb the abuse.
Prescriptions for pets would be regulated under a bill introduced in Trenton by Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney in response to growing reports nationwide of owners going to vets to get opiates.
“Addiction is a disease, and people go to great lengths because of it,” said Rooney (R--Bergen). “Unfortunately, pets are often harmed intentionally so [that] veterinarians will prescribe certain medications to relieve the pet’s pain.
"To avoid suspicion, [the owners] go to different offices.”
Some pet owners have been convicted of “shopping” for prescriptions by harming pets or even training them to cough, Rooney noted.
His proposed law would require that pet prescriptions be in the owner’s name, with that information entered into the state Prescription Monitoring Program -- same as for adults on prescription medications.
"Any person not identified as an owner may not receive a prescription, and prescriptions may not be refilled unless it is past the authorized date," said the Paterson-born Rooney, who grew up in Upper Saddle River.
What's more, law enforcement can access the Prescription Monitoring Program data base if carrying out an investigation of a veterinary client, under the bill.
“My goal is to help end the opioid crisis -- no matter the circumstance,” Rooney said.