When one drug pipeline closes, addicts search for another.

NJ Attorney General Christopher Porrino
NJ Attorney General Christopher Porrino (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

Responding to a growing number of individuals using their pets in an attempt to obtain and abuse pain pills, Attorney General Christopher Porrino on Tuesday announced stricter guidelines for veterinarians and the prescriptions they write.

"We’ve heard of individuals coming in with a pet, complaining on the pet’s behalf of a particular ailment, and coming back on repeated occasions for the same ailment, sometimes asking for a particular opioid medication by name," Porrino told New Jersey 101.5.

Veterinarians are exempt from the New Jersey law that requires prescribers to review a patient's prescription history, through the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program, prior to recommending certain highly-addictive drugs. The guidelines from the Office of the Attorney General ask that veterinarians consult the NJPMP, which contains more than 77 million prescriptions written or filled in New Jersey, and shares data with 14 other states.

The new standards, which include input from the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy and the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, also ask that each prescription include the pet owner's name and address. By including that information, physicians and pharmacists down the line can better track the medications one is obtaining in their pet's name or their own.

"If the prescription form merely reflects the name of your dog or cat, there's not much the pharmacist is going to be able to do with that," Porrino said.

According to Porrino, eight out of 10 heroin addicts become addicted through the use of prescription opioids. He said these recommendations help close an avenue in which painkillers are reaching the street.

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