It may sound innocent enough and no different from the process of finding a new family doctor or a specialist to treat a particular ailment, but doctor shopping is more sinister than that. The CDC defines the term doctor shopping as “obtaining controlled substances from multiple healthcare practitioners without the prescriber’s knowledge of other prescriptions,” and this practice is common among those struggling with prescription drug abuse. If you or someone you care about is doctor shopping to score more of the medications they are misusing, learn how the prescription drug rehab and other rehab programs at Greater Boston Addiction Centers can help by contacting us online or calling 877.920.6583 today.
Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction
It is easier than you may think to become dependent on opioids. You may have been prescribed opioid painkillers after having your wisdom teeth removed or a major surgery and used them as directed with no issue, but these medications are so strong that everyone who uses them is at risk of developing an addiction. It’s gotten to a point where some dentists will no longer prescribe them after removing teeth because this is a lot of young people’s first exposure to opioids, and thus a gateway to future abuse. Some signs and symptoms of opioid addiction are:
- Taking more medication than is prescribed for longer than directed
- Intense cravings and an inability to control them even when a person wishes they could
- Continuing to abuse prescription medication despite any negative effects on their life
- Excessive sweating or itching
- Chronic constipation
- Small pupils
- Chronic nausea
- New or worsening sensitivity to pain
- Slurred speech and problems with balance or coordination
- Shallow breathing
- Seizures and falls
- Risk of accidental death from overdose due to respiratory or heart failure
A person who is dependent on prescription medication will not be able to control their urges to abuse these drugs even if they want to. They may resort to stealing pills or money, engaging in risky or illegal behaviors, or doctor shopping to get their hands on these opioids. Doctor shopping is a particularly risky activity that can result in a felony charge.
Manipulating The System
The practice of doctor shopping is all about manipulating the healthcare system to get extra drugs, typically narcotics such as Vicodin, Xanax, or OxyContin. Initially, these drugs would have been prescribed to help with chronic pain or recovery from surgery but have since become an addiction. Those who go shopping for doctors to write new prescriptions will often visit multiple doctors, lie, and provide falsified information in an effort to obtain multiple prescriptions for the drugs they’ve become dependent upon to feel normal.
Some of the lies regularly told while doctor shopping include lies about:
- Current symptoms
- Denying receiving previous medications
- Personal information
- Injuring themselves
- Claiming to have lost previous prescriptions
There are two primary reasons why a person may start doctor shopping:
- They have developed a prescription drug abuse problem and want to get more of the substance for their own personal use. In this scenario, the individual may have had a valid prescription for the drug(s) at one time, but it has since expired. Once addicted to the drug(s), the person suffering from prescription drug abuse will start doctor shopping to get more pills.
- The other reason to shop for doctors is to sell the drugs. Prescription medication is in high demand by those addicted to and abusing the pills. Therefore there is quite a bit of money to be made by doctor shopping. In fact, each day, 2.1 million Americans abuse opioids. Doctor shopping is one way dealers try to obtain the supply of drugs needed to keep up with demand.
Doctor Shopping is Illegal
Many who are doctor shopping are probably unconcerned or unaware that it is illegal to do so. When obtaining simultaneous prescriptions to feed their prescription drug abuse, these people aren’t simply bending the rules, but rather they are breaking the law. If you or someone you know has reached this perilous point, they will most likely require a drug rehab program like the one offered by Greater Boston Addiction Centers to get clean and sober.
Additionally, you are not protected by the standard doctor-patient privilege, meaning you could easily get caught attempting to obtain a narcotic drug by deceit, misrepresentation, fraud, or concealment of facts.
From Prescription Drug Abuse to a Felony
Because doctor shopping is against federal law, the act is considered a felony. The punishment for this crime could be as harsh as a multi-thousand-dollar fine and several years in prison.
The rise of doctor shopping is tied to the opioid addiction crisis in America. Before you add felony charges and jail time to your list of troubles, seek out the compassionate prescription drug rehab program at Greater Boston Addiction Centers.
Learn More at Greater Boston Addiction Centers
Learn how the prescription drug rehab at Greater Boston Addiction Centers can break the cycle of prescription drug abuse and be the starting point for reshaping the rest of your life. Contact us using our secure online form or call us confidentially at 877.920.6583 today.