A growing number of people are finding themselves with substance abuse problems stemming from the use of prescription painkillers and other drugs. Perhaps your doctor has prescribed one or more of these drugs for you. If so, you may understand how their powerfully addictive nature can quickly send a life spiraling out of control.
The demand for prescription narcotics such as Valium, Oxycontin, Xanax and Vicodin has also increased the rate of arrests and convictions for illegally obtaining and possessing these and other drugs. Because doctors who prescribe these drugs are also under the microscope of the law, it may be difficult for a patient to obtain the amount of the drugs he or she needs, even for a legitimate purpose. This may lead to the illegal process of doctor shopping.
What is doctor shopping
Despite the efforts of drug enforcement agencies to monitor the prescribing habits of physicians, patients continue to obtain unreasonable amounts of narcotics following surgeries or injuries, and this leads to a dangerous rise in addiction and overdose. Once a patient becomes addicted, he or she may take extreme measures to obtain narcotics without arousing the suspicion of authorities, including:
- Exaggerating their symptoms.
- Omitting information, such as the fact that another doctor has already prescribed them narcotics.
- Seeking numerous prescriptions for narcotics from several doctors and pharmacies, perhaps in numerous cities across Colorado.
- Misrepresenting allergies to certain drugs to acquire drugs that are more powerful.
- Intentionally causing harm to themselves to obtain a prescription.
- Claiming that you lost or damaged a previous prescription in order to obtain a new prescription.
Authorities may interpret any of these and other actions to be fraud, which can result in serious consequences if such charges end in a conviction.
What happens next?
If you are facing accusations of doctor shopping because you had prescription drugs in your possession, you should know what may lie ahead for you if the charges lead to a conviction. To begin with, the severity of the charges and penalties typically depends on the number of pills the accused possesses. An excessive number of pills may lead authorities to believe you had the intention of distributing them.
If that is the case, you may face felony charges with the potential for thousands in fines and as long as five years in prison. With so much at stake, you would be wise to deal with these issues with the skilled and experienced assistance of a Colorado attorney who is familiar with state and federal drug laws.