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Power Of Putnam Gets Opioid Money For Vets

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Power Of Putnam Gets Opioid Money For Vets

Power of Putnam received some $200,000 in state opioid abatement funds for its “Paws Off My Meds” project.

Coalition Director Bill Gibson said the project is designed to prevent “vet shopping,” a ploy used to acquire opioids by having them prescribed to a pet. Gibson said the state funds will provide equipment like medicine lock boxes and signage at veterinary offices warning of vet-shopping dangers. He said it would also pay for a position designed to provide technical support for new coalitions that could work directly with veterinarians.

“We also want to refer people,” Gibson said. “A component of this is, if the veterinarian office does encounter somebody that is in an addiction struggle, we want them to have resources where they can not just send the person away, but maybe refer them for help.”

Gibson said he hopes some of the funding can act as seed money for those looking to start a coalition. If people design their own coalitions built around preventing this issue, Gibson believes data will prove that the money has made a difference in the opioid epidemic.

“What we’d hope to do is gather some baseline data from the community as we start the program just to see how many of their veterinary clinics are aware of this problem or believe that they’ve encountered it,” Gibson said. “Then toward the end of the project, we would collect data to see if they have had situations where they believe the information was helpful.”

He said Power of Putnam applied for the money in October and learned last week that the project had been selected. He said on top of the fact that vet shopping is likely to contribute to an individual’s continued addiction struggle, medication prescribed to pets is often not safe for human consumption, even in small doses. He said in other cases, drugs prescribed to animals may be the same drugs often used by humans, sometimes the very drugs an individual is already addicted to.

“This is a continuation,” Gibson said. “Power of Putnam collaborated with Tennessee Tech University and several professors over there to come up with a course to train veterinarians on this practice.”


The post Power Of Putnam Gets Opioid Money For Vets appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.