Generally, the DEA does not approve of storing or transporting controlled substances in vehicles, but for those in the veterinary profession that can be a necessity if they are going to effectively treat their animal patients.
When your pet needs medical attention, you probably take it to your veterinarian’s office. The vet may run a few tests, treat your pet for whatever ails it, and even send you home with some medicine to help it feel better. But some veterinarians do most of their work away from the office, especially if they live in rural areas with patients that are not so easy to take to a vet clinic.
Some of the drugs veterinarians commonly need to treat animals are covered by the Controlled Substances Act, and vets who practice in areas where they have to travel to treat their patients found themselves being challenged by the Drug Enforcement Agency (or DEA) because they were transporting controlled drugs in work vehicles.
Veterinarians felt that the DEA’s interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act was limiting their ability to treat all their patients effectively. In response to communications from veterinarians and veterinary groups around the country, the only two veterinarians in Congress, Representatives Schrader from Oregon and Yoho from Florida, sponsored the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act in the House, while Senators from Kansas and Maine sponsored the Senate version of the bill. The Senate passed the bill in January, and this week Congress passed an identical version. Once the president to signs it into law veterinarians will be able to carry vital medications to alleviate pain, anesthetize an animal or even perform humane euthanasia without risking their licenses or incurring fines.
Understandably, vets are greatly relieved that Congress passed the necessary legislation to make sure animals could receive the best care. Animal welfare organizations, such as the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA, are also applauding the passage of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, citing animal rescue situations such as tornadoes, hurricanes and floods, in which animals in remote areas often need emergency medical attention. The new law will make it possible to treat animals and protect the people who are caring for them. It’s really a victory for the health and welfare of our animal friends, when we’re speaking of all animals, including our pets.