The drug epidemic in the United States has reached an all time high, and many of those addicted to prescription substances attempt to obtain their prescriptions through doctor shopping.
Here, we discuss what doctor shopping is and the consequences it carries.
What is Doctor Shopping?
Doctor shopping is when a patient visits multiple doctors under false pretenses to obtain prescription drugs. The patient may claim that they have substantial pain and are in need of powerful narcotics.
Some of the most sought after drugs include hydrocodone, OxyContin, and Vicodin. The prescriptions provided can be taken by the patient or can be sold unlawfully to others.
A patient, often times an addict, will deceive multiple healthcare practitioners into believing they are in need of powerful prescription medication. The patient does not disclose that they have other doctors who are providing a prescription for the same drugs already.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of every 143 patients received a opioid prescription from more than one physician. This suggests a high probability of doctor shopping and prescription drug abuse. (1)
Visiting multiple doctors is a telltale sign of either a drug addiction problem or an indication of the illegal distribution and sale of controlled substances. Doctor shopping has remained as one of the largest factors feeding the fire of the opioid epidemic today.
What happens if you get caught doctor shopping?
Doctor shopping is prohibited under federal and state law(s). If you get caught doctor shopping, it is considered a felony. (3) Depending on your state, a person caught doctor shopping may be delivered to a treatment program as a diversion program instead of prison or a fine. This is typically only available for first time offenders.
Typically, a pharmacist will notice multiple prescriptions from various doctors and will contact the physician. The physician can instruct the pharmacist to cancel the prescription. A physician can also choose to contact law enforcement.
In order to combat this surge, multiple states have passed stern laws. These laws state that information that is provided to a doctor or health care practitioner during doctor shopping is not protected under doctor-patient privilege laws.
According to the CDC, nearly 20 states have now enacted laws specifically targeting doctor shoppers. States with these laws prohibit patients from obtaining drugs through fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. (3)
Many states are also now adopting databases of patients prescribed prescription drugs and narcotics in order to combat doctor shopping. (2) These are referred to as Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, or PDMPs. (3)
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.