Doctor shopping is a very serious crime in the state of Florida that you may not even be aware of. The crime essentially involves one person going to multiple doctors all during a short period of time in hopes of being prescribed several batches of certain pain medications – all without ever informing the doctors that they have already visited other doctors that also prescribed that particular pain medication. Although you may have never heard of doctor shopping before, Florida has been targeting this particular crime for nearly 5 years and seems to be increasing its fight against prescription drug possession.
The Underlying Problem
Dependency on pain medications like OxyContin and OxyCodone has become a major topic of concern in Florida as well as the rest of the country. Often times people who are legally prescribed pain medications like the ones mentioned become quickly addicted and resort to illegal measures to try to obtain more pills. Addiction to these pain pills is particularly worrisome considering the high number of people that overdose each year on prescription drugs. During the period of 2003 to 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded a 61% increase in the number of drug overdoses in the state of Florida, noting especially high increases in overdoses caused by Oxycodone and Alprazolam (a prescription drug commonly used to treat anxiety). These shocking statistics give state legislators and law enforcement officials fuel to increase the attack on drug possession and drug trafficking in Florida.
The doctor shopping statute makes it a felony for any person to withhold information showing that the person making the request (for the drug) has received a prescription for a controlled substance for similar uses from another doctor within the previous 30 days, if said individual is currently seeking to obtain a prescription for a controlled substance.
How It Can Affect You
Because doctor shopping is a felony, being convicted of the crime means steep penalties. A conviction can land you with a sentence of up to 5 years in prison in addition to all of the serious repercussions associated with having a felony on your record for the rest of your life.
The problem is that people not intentionally doctor shopping may still be flagged by the sheriff's department and investigated. It is very possible that someone being investigated for doctor shopping may actually have multiple legitimate issues/illnesses for which they are seeing different physicians, or different doctors may prescribe the individual similar prescriptions for different purposes.
If you or someone you know is facing a doctor shopping charge or any other drug charges, call the experienced Florida criminal defense attorneys at Farkas & Crowley today. Because the offense is so serious, it is vital to meet with a skilled attorney to explain your situation. It is possible that there is a simple defense to your doctor shopping charge that a knowledgeable attorney can present on your behalf. Our team can help determine what, if any, penalties you may be facing and can plan how best to fight the charge.