Ohio lawmakers are taking a new angle on the fight against prescription drug abuse — tackling pet medication abuse by going after people who use their pets to obtain prescription pain drugs.
Some of the same medications used by people also are prescribed to cats, dogs, and other animals. Pets may be prescribed opioid pain medications, which are among prescription medications most commonly abused by people.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has identified pet medication abuse as a potentially rising problem in Ohio. News outlets throughout the state reported that he approached the Ohio Veterinary Medicine Association about studying the issue.
Ohio lawmakers inserted language into House Bill 274 on Dec. 11 that would task the Attorney General’s Office, state veterinary medical licensing board, state board of pharmacy, and Ohio Veterinary Medical Association with developing resources and educational materials to help veterinarians identify pet owners who might be abusing opioid pain medications or using their pets to obtain the medications improperly.
The bill passed the Ohio House of Representatives in a 92-1 vote. It’s now pending in the Senate.
The bill generally defines what actions constitute the crime of animal cruelty and sets penalties for the various forms of the offense.