When a person visits multiple doctors and pharmacies without informing them of other care that they may be receiving with the purpose of obtaining multiple drug prescriptions it is considered doctor shopping. Each of these doctors may be told an exaggerated or false account of symptoms in order to get medicine prescribed. When a person is addicted to these drugs or is selling them for money, doctor shopping is way to provide a stream of medication they would be unable to get without visiting a physician.
Criminal Charges Associates with Doctor Shopping
Since there has been an uptick in patients addicted to drugs, many doctors have been unwilling to prescribe large or repeat doses of opiate painkillers and benzodiazepine tranquilizers in order to prevent addictions. However, this has led to those individuals circumventing one doctor and visiting many others.
A person who is doctor shopping may be charged if they:
- Obtain or attempt to obtain controlled substances by fraud, lying, or withholding information
- Deliberately make a false statement in a prescription or medical record
- Falsely represents themselves as someone authorized to obtain a prescription
When a person is doctor shopping, they are committing two crimes. They are committing fraud by lying or withholding information in order to obtain controlled substances, and they are also in illegal possession of controlled substances.
A person in California accused of doctor shopping may be faced with a misdemeanor or a felony crime, depending on their prior criminal record and the specifics of their case. If charged with a misdemeanor offense, the person faces a year in county jail. If the crime is a felony, a person can be sentenced to 16 months to 3years in jail.
Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is important in doctor shopping cases. Our firm may be able to work with prosecutors to have the accused sent to a drug treatment program, which can wipe the charge from a person’s record. Call our firm for more information!