Doctor shopping is the practice of obtaining prescription medications, often narcotic painkillers, from multiple physicians. With the rates of pain medication abuse and overdose at alarmingly high levels in recent years, doctor shopping is a major source of concern for physicians and pharmacies everywhere. If you’re a physician or patient with a legitimate need for certain prescription drugs, such as opioids, but concerned about accusations of prescription fraud, you may want more information about these laws. Your best option is to get in touch with an experienced health care attorney near you. Mike engages in “doctor shopping,” visiting a number of different doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions for Vicodin.

A doctor has to distinguish patient tolerance, dependence, and addiction in order to know if a patient is trying to abuse the medication and this is hard to do although, doctors are getting better at noticing the signs. There also has been an increase of hospitals and doctors using statewide databases that record which people have been prescribed prescription narcotics so doctor shopping can’t happen anymore. Pharmacy shopping matters because the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program collects information surrounding controlled substances so that medical professionals have access to that information. The Program allows medical professionals to keep an eye on when and where opioid prescriptions have been filled. They do so by checking a database prior to prescribing or filling any controlled substances, such as opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and carisoprodol.

what is doctor shopping

There are a lot of steps that are being taken to crack down on doctor shopping. Doctors’ offices and pharmacies are taking steps to track the number of prescriptions they write for certain medications. That way, they make sure they are not refilling prescriptions before they should. This is the biggest danger of doctor shopping, and it is how the opioid epidemic has impacted countless individuals and families. Doctor shopping has made it easier for people to get more of these pills. It has also made it easier for people to buy these medications on the street.

Treatment for Chronic Pain and Addiction

Because shoppers don’t tell physicians or pharmacists about other prescriptions they’ve had filled, they can potentially end up with a very large amount of prescription medications, either to be used illicitly or to sell illegally. While movies and TV shows would like us to believe that people with addictions are always abusing street drugs or living on the streets, millions of Americans are addicted to prescription medications and are high functioning enough to show no signs. The team of specialists at our Gilman, IL, Banyan rehab has worked with countless patients who have developed prescription drug addictions.

For example, they may lie about their symptoms, deny having any other medications, leave out important information, purposefully harm themselves to get a prescription, or claim they have lost their other prescription and need a new one. As long as all the medical professionals on the team are aware of the medications prescribed by the others, this is entirely safe. After the PCP has provided his or her patient with whatever medications are needed for comfort, he or she can then make referrals to specialists for further treatment. Generally, referrals are hard to come by unless there’s at least some basic relationship between the physician and patient, and a referral is crucial. Without a referral, seeing a specialist might be difficult or impossible.

Pick up the phone and contact one of our dedicated addiction treatment specialists in North Carolina today. Hopkins told The Pew Charitable Trusts that when doctors raised concerns about the implementation of the database, the state responded by hearing them out and adding some “common sense exceptions” wherever possible. For example, doctors do not have to consult the database in an emergency or to prescribe medications to patients who are in hospice care, long-term care, or receiving treatment for cancer. In the event that a patient was prescribed a painkiller by a colleague within the same practice, and the patient needs a refill or a different pain medication, the doctor can skip checking the database. The Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1970 prohibits doctor shopping by making it illegal to knowingly distribute or dispense a controlled substance outside of proper channels.

  • This kind of doctor shopping lacks intention to commit malingering for material gain and is the result of such mental conditions.
  • On the other hand, some individuals who sell drugs on the streets have high customer demand for prescription medications.
  • There are some people who go to multiple doctors to try to get multiple prescriptions for all of these medications.
  • Penalties for those convicted of doctor shopping violations vary from state to state and depend on the case.
  • In other words, it’s when patients manipulate the system to get extra drugs.

Lisa visits the emergency room, requesting an injection of pain medication. Even though Lisa didn’t receive anything, she likely still broke HS by seeking the pain medication. Receive or attempt to receive a prescription for a controlled substance. Of course, the real answer is probably much larger considering that only a small percentage of doctor shoppers are caught and tried in court, and the above example makes only very conservative estimates.

Areas of Practice

There are varied reasons why someone would doctor shop other than illicitly. There is a danger of misuse and inevitable overdoses in obtaining unnecessary prescription medications for illicit use. The National Institutes of Health explains that not all doctor shopping is driven by suspect behaviors as there are psychological factors and illness factors that are justified.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, or US government. To arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call us today or send us a message. 2) This act involved fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, subterfuge, or the concealment of a material fact. This act involved fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, subterfuge, or the concealment of a material fact. All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Prescriptions might also be paid for with cash, rather than insurance, to make the medications harder to track. No, doctor shopping isn’t the process of picking a doctor based on your insurance. While selecting a doctor is a time-consuming and tedious process, it’s not illegal. Today we’re sharing what you should know about doctor shopping, including the legal repercussions of getting caught and the signs to look out for in a loved one. Although people feel as though they have obtained a prescription legally through a doctor’s prescription, doctor shopping is illegal. If you get caught doctor shopping, you may face a large fine and jail time.

what is doctor shopping

Some patients switch doctors regularly claiming communications problems, trouble schedule appointments or they have moved away from the office. We help thousands of people change their lives with our treatment programs. Sato T, Takeichi M, Shirahama M, Fukui T, Gude JK. Doctor-shopping patients and users of alternative medicine among Japanese primary care patients. Kansas – It is unlawful for a patient to provide false information, “with the intent to deceive” a practitioner “for the purpose of obtaining a prescription-only drug.” Since the crime involves deception and a certain level of trust (for instance, doctors don’t know whether pain is real or faked), it’s unclear just how widespread the problem is. As we mentioned above, the penalties for prescription fraud in California can vary, and depending on the facts of your case, it can be possible to see your charges reduced or dismissed entirely.

Such a consultation was forbidden under Kentucky’s previous privacy laws. Under pressure to do something in the wake of tens of thousands of people overdosing and dying on opioids , different states have vowed to communicate on ways to fight back. In 2014, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York agreed to share information on how their doctors prescribed controlled medication. Governors across New England, where the region has seen some of the highest rates of prescription abuse in the country, have agreed to pool their data. If you recognize any of these signs, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Heartland recovery center for help. We offer residential as well as detox and substance-specific care for both illicit and prescription drugs.

Patients, meanwhile, may be doctor shopping for reasons not related to drug addiction; for example, they may simply be looking for a second opinion after a distressing diagnosis. Doctor shopping often involves lying, as patients won’t tell their new doctor about their past prescription in order to get prescribed the same amount. Some addicted patients may be cured of their afflictions but lie about having them in order to get the drug they want. In another study from Japan, Hagihara et al2 examined 303 internal-medicine patients and reported that 27.7 percent engaged in doctor shopping, which was defined as consulting multiple doctors within the same illness episode.

As alluded to above, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion from someone else; however, if you are seeing multiple doctors in an effort to get multiple prescriptions filled for the same thing, this is a serious problem. Law enforcement officials are known to aggressively pursue doctor shoppers in many areas of the country – especially those with significant prescription drug abuse problems. One of the most high profile cases of doctor shopping involved radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.

She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name. The content on is brought to you by American Addiction Centers , a nationwide network of leading substance abuse and behavioral treatment facilities. An analysis of the number of multiple prescribers for opioids utilizing data from the California Prescription Monitoring Program.

Begin Recovery Now

Using a drug database to cut down on doctor shopping, and reduce the cost to society that the practice entails, is the first step in a very long journey. For all the good it has done, Kentucky’s system is still a work in progress, but many in the state’s medical and health community are optimistic about the difference it can make in the future. They’ve become dependent on a particular controlled substance 4 ‘mocktail’ recipes for ulcerative colitis and need to find ways to obtain more for their own consumption. It’s likely they were prescribed it legitimately at some point, but now their prescription has run out. After becoming addicted, people often begin doctor shopping for additional drugs. Recognizing the signs early can help both the individual who has an issue and their family members understand how serious the situation really is.

what is doctor shopping

Limbaugh was accused of duping 4 doctors in a half-year period to prescribe him as many as 2,000 painkillers. Doctor shopping is the act of manipulating or deceiving doctors into prescribing medications in order to then divert the drugs for illicit use and sale. Patients generally request prescriptions for powerful narcotics like Oxycontin, Vicodin, Xanax, Valium and many others from multiple doctors. The sad reality is that anyone can be accused of doctor shopping in Utah when they are completely innocent of that charge. The vast majority of people visit doctors for genuine purposes, and tend to trust what they are told, and prescribed, by the doctor.

Doctor Shopping

As a result, these individuals want more of their prescription for personal, non-medicinal use. On the other hand, some individuals who sell drugs on the streets have high customer demand for prescription medications. Drug dealers may fake symptoms or visit multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions that they will sell to their customers.

Considering this, it’s not surprising that an estimated 26.4 to 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide.2 Doctor shopping is another means for dealers to illegally get more drugs like opioids to sell to their buyers. how long can alcohol be detected? As a result, many people have turned to doctor shopping as a means to acquire more pills. The NIDA study also found that doctor shoppers tend to be younger adults between the ages of 18 and 44 years old.

They are dangerous, addictive, and can lead to serious medical complications if someone overdoses on them. Many people don’t realize they are breaking the law when they visit multiple doctors for multiple prescriptions to feed their addiction. Ultimately, the consequences if you get caught vary state by state, because it is up to individual states to regulate and enforce prescribing practices. However, the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act of 1932 and the Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1970 are federal laws that have set some national provisions for doctor shopping. Florida approved a new law to address the state’s growing issues with prescription drug abuse. To combat doctor shopping, Florida developed a prescription drug monitoring program, E-FORCSE (Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation) in 2011.

According to the available literature, prevalence rates of doctor shopping vary widely, from 6.3 to 56 percent. However, this variability is partially attributable to research methodology, including the study definition of doctor shopping as well as the patient sample. Being aware of these various patient justifications for doctor shopping is important in understanding and managing these challenging 20 popular recovery books patients in the clinical setting, whether they emerge in psychiatric or primary care environments. In this regard, Lineberry and Bostwick6 define doctor shopping as patient visits to multiple physicians simply to procure prescriptions. Hall et al7 characterize doctor shopping as obtaining prescriptions for controlled substances from five or more clinicians during the preceding year.

It is true that doctors make sure patients are not given these prescriptions unnecessarily; however, a lot of patients end up with more pills than they need. How is this possible, and what are states doing to try to crack down on this issue? The second element to prescription fraud is that the defendant must have used “fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, subterfuge, or the concealment of a material fact” in their attempt to obtain the controlled substance. For this reason, if you or someone you love has been accused of prescription fraud, it’s important to speak with a criminal defense attorney to start building your defense. The fact of the matter is that the U.S. is cracking down on shopping for drugs and making it harder and harder to avoid detection.