A workplace accident, a surgical procedure, complaints of anxiety, depression and chronic pain are just a few of the reasons why doctors may prescribe powerful drugs that bring welcome relief but come with devastating risks. Many of the drugs prescribed for these and other conditions are powerfully addictive, creating a need in the patient that often leads them to do things they may otherwise never consider.
When a prescription runs out and allows no more refills, many patients are ready for simple, over-the-counter pain relief. Others, however, are not, and they may begin to seek other ways to obtain the drugs that provided them with so much relief. Doctor shopping is one method of obtaining that drug. If you have been accused of doctor shopping, you have every reason to feel concerned about your future.
Doctor shopping and its penalties
Arizona has one of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse in the nation. For this reason, law enforcement is zealous about fighting crimes associated with the drug trade, including doctor shopping. If authorities have arrested you for this offense, it means they believe you have used deception or fraud to obtain prescriptions for your personal use or to sell. Methods of doctor shopping include:
- Visiting numerous doctors to obtain prescriptions for Vicodin, Valium, Oxycontin, Xanax or other drugs
- Failing to inform one doctor that you are under the care of or receiving prescriptions from other physicians for the same condition
- Lying to your doctors about your symptoms or other factors, such as saying your previous prescription was lost or stolen
- Exaggerating your symptoms
- Telling the doctor you have allergies that would remove the option of prescribing less addictive medications
- Intentionally injuring yourself to obtain a prescription
More often, doctors are encouraged to add patients to the national database when they receive prescriptions for opioids and other addictive drugs. This does not eliminate the opportunity for doctor shopping. If a court convicts you of this crime, you may be fortunate to receive a sentence that includes a drug treatment program.
However, you are also at risk for thousands in fines, months in jail and years of probation, not to mention the permanent mark on your criminal record. If you have additional charges related to doctor shopping, such as fraud or drug distribution, you may be facing felony charges that could follow you the rest of your life if a court convicts you. If authorities have charged you with doctor shopping, you would be wise to obtain solid legal counsel for the best chances of getting your life back on track.