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Jan 18, 2010 12:11 PM by Jamie Smith

Pills for pets abused by people

People are abusing a drug designed for pets and veterinarians say they feel under siege. "It worries you because everyone of us are susceptible," Dr. Jason Rodgers with Lone Oak Animal Clinic said.

The drug is a painkiller for your pets and could be the next go-to drug for people trying to get high. The drug is Torbutrol also called Butorphanol Tartrate.

Earlier this month, the McCracken County Sheriff's Department arrested Julia Thomas-Ficken and Dannette Foulks. The two worked at a local animal clinic that reported 177 missing doses of Torbutrol. Both face drug charges.

Those arrests serve as a wake up call for local veterinary offices especially because a prescription for your pet could end up in the wrong hands.

Dr. Rodgers said drugs like Torbutrol do a lot of good, "but it is very powerful (and) if in the wrong hands were not used properly can cause some major problems, even death."

Detective Sgt. Matt Carter said there's no shortage of places for people to find and steal drugs. The latest place seems to be veterinary clinics. "Maybe it's a pill addiction they are using for themselves. Financial gain. Taking pills and selling them," Carter said. The reasons are endless and so are the potential side effects of taking a drug designed for an animal.

This month's most recent arrest is an eye-opener for veterinarians like Rodgers.

"Surprise," Rodgers said. "But kind of scared because you know that people know that we have these medications." That's a big reason why Dr. Rodgers keeps all drugs behind lock and key hoping they don't fall into the wrong hands.

Rodgers added, "It worries you because everyone of us are susceptible."

Something Sgt. Carter said is a new reality for all veterinarians. "Especially with something like this," Sgt. Carter said. "This may be a time that anyone who posses these type of items at their place of business may be a time to react to what's happened."

Veterinary clinics housing narcotics are required to keep detailed inventories and report that information to the DEA every two weeks.

 

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