Doctor shopping can lead to criminal charges

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2019 | Firm News

At one time, when you heard the words “drug addict,” you may have thought of someone lying in an alley or hiding in an abandoned building with track marks on his or her arms. It may not have occurred to you that you would ever have your own struggle with addiction.

The public is only recently learning how dramatically and personally the opioid epidemic can affect the average person. Often beginning after an injury or surgery when a doctor prescribes strong pain medication, it is shocking how quickly one can come to depend on the painkillers soon after recovering from the initial injury. This dependency may lead you to do things you never would have imagined to obtain your drug of choice, including doctor shopping.

Do you recognize yourself?

Doctor shopping is not the same as looking for a new doctor or a physician who is in your insurance network. If you doctor shop, you are under the care of several doctors simultaneously for the express purpose of obtaining multiple prescriptions for pain medication. Some of the signs of doctor shopping include the following:

  • Lying to doctors about your level of pain
  • Withholding information about your past and current medical care and prescriptions
  • Forging documents or otherwise committing fraud to obtain prescriptions
  • Visiting numerous pharmacies to fill your prescriptions
  • Traveling to other cities in North Carolina or out of state to meet with doctors or fill prescriptions

Since doctors and pharmacists are more frequently the target of law enforcement’s efforts to control the distribution of opioids, they may be quick to report any activity that may indicate doctor shopping. A savvy pharmacist may catch on to someone who is filling multiple prescriptions, or a doctor may recognize your name from the ever-growing database of patients receiving opioid prescriptions. If they contact police, you may face serious criminal charges.

There are people who want to help you

Because of the crisis level of opioid addiction and the growing rate of overdoses, law enforcement may treat you more like a criminal than like someone who is in need of help for a substance abuse problem. Going to jail or prison may not provide you with the help you need and may even exacerbate your addiction.

If you are facing accusations of doctor shopping, you do not have to deal with these matters on your own. In fact, this may be the right time to reach out to those who can provide the help you need for your legal issues as well as for fighting your addiction.