A life of addiction is often a life of secrets. For those with dependency to prescription medications, an addiction can be difficult to feed, especially since new laws are making it more difficult to obtain opioids and other powerful drugs.
Like many, your dependence on addictive painkillers may have started innocently enough following an injury, surgical procedure or illness during which a doctor prescribed a narcotic for the pain. At some point in your recovery, you no longer needed such a powerful painkiller, but the drug may have already taken its hold on you. When your California doctor refused to refill your prescription, you may have taken steps that led you to legal trouble.
Signs of doctor shopping
If you turned to more than one doctor seeking prescriptions for drugs but did not tell the doctors you were already under the care of another physician, authorities may say you are doctor shopping. Doctor shopping is a form of fraud as well as a drug crime. You may face felony charges, including charges for intent to distribute, depending on the amount of drugs in your possession. When determining if someone is doctor shopping, authorities look for these and other signs:
- Having multiple prescriptions for similar drugs from more than one doctor
- Traveling to different cities or counties to see doctors
- Filling prescriptions at different pharmacies
- Asking for increasingly higher dosages
- Paying for medication in cash instead of using insurance
- Becoming defensive when questioned about one's medication
- Requesting brand names of medication or asking for a certain dosage
- Claiming a past prescription was stolen or lost
Most often, the drugs doctor shoppers seek are anxiety medications such as Xanax, ADHD medicines such as Adderall and others, as well as opioid painkillers, including Percocet and Vicodin. Authorities carefully control these types of medicine because of the high risk of addiction and overdose. Additionally, if you are taking more than one of these drugs, you run the risk of a fatal interaction.
Perhaps the issue you are most concerned with at this moment is the legal ramifications of doctor shopping. As a federal crime, doctor shopping can carry heavy penalties, especially if authorities believe you are involved in the illegal distribution of drugs. Such charges carry hefty fines and the threat of time in prison if convicted. Seeking the help you need is critical, and there are medical and legal resources available to guide you through this difficult time.