The drug issues that have long plagued the Sunshine State are often more complex than you may think, especially with regards to the ongoing opioid crisis. As lawmakers work to seal any loopholes they discover, people tend to get creative in finding new ways to abuse current systems. “Doctor shopping” is just one example of this, but an infamous one that requires legal action. Here is some more information on doctor shopping, including the definition and penalties.
What is Doctor Shopping?
Florida Statutes 893.13(7)(a)8. is known as the “doctor shopping statute,” and it states that it is illegal to:
“Withhold information from a practitioner from whom the person seeks to obtain a controlled substance of a prescription for a controlled substance that the person making the request has received a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance of that practitioner, a pharmacist, or a supplier of prescription forms who is authorized by that practitioner to possess those forms.”
To put this more simply, doctor shopping is the practice of receiving multiple prescriptions from different doctors for the same type of drug. This deceit allows individuals to rack-up more prescription medicines, which they can then abuse or sell. It is, as a result, connected to the opioid crisis: pushers exploit this lack of accountability to find and sell more drugs, and some people with a painkiller addiction even try this to get their fix.
The above statute makes it illegal to hide or lie about recent prescriptions when trying to get another one from a medical practitioner. Nowadays, the system for filling prescriptions no longer begins and ends with medical practitioners asking for a name. Through the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, patient information is now cross-referenced in a database. This database informs doctors, pharmacists, and police officers when someone receives a prescription for the same or a similar substance within an unauthorized period of time.
According to Statute 893.13(7)(d), violating the law against doctor shopping is considered a third-degree felony. This puts the crime on the same level, in the eyes of the legal system, as other types of drug-related fraud, including applying “any false or forged label” to packages containing controlled substances and providing false information on prescription-related documents.
Under Florida law, anyone convicted of this charge may find themselves facing as much as $5,000 in fines and as many as five years in prison. The opioid crisis has hit the state of Florida hard, and the legislature considers the many cases of abuse that contributed to the problems within its borders to be of great importance. As a result, the penalties for committing any of these abuses can be both steep and serious. Doctor shopping is no exception.
If you ever find yourself facing charges of doctor shopping, you need to have a skilled attorney by your side. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A., today for a free consultation at (954) 462-1005 and you can get in touch with experienced Florida drug lawyers who can assist you in navigating the legal system of the Sunshine State.