You may or may not have ever heard the term “doctor shopping.” Essentially, it’s used to describe the way that some people go from doctor to doctor until they find one that will give them a prescription for the drugs that they’re trying to obtain.
It’s definitely not a healthy practice — and it’s also illegal. In Florida, it can even land you in jail. Here’s what you should know:
1. Doctor shopping is a drug crime
Florida drug laws specifically address doctor shopping by making it a felony-level crime to do any of the following things:
- Hide information from your doctor about any other prescriptions that you have been given in the last 30 days that’s similar to what you are currently seeking
- Misrepresent your condition to a doctor to obtain a narcotic drug
- Provide the doctor with fraudulent medical records in an attempt to get narcotics
The purpose of the law isn’t to prevent someone from seeking a second opinion when they’re unhappy with their current medical care. Instead, it’s designed to keep people from deceiving a medical professional in order to obtain narcotics that aren’t needed or narcotics in addition to the ones they’ve already been given elsewhere.
2. A state databank is used to catch doctor shoppers
Many people are unaware that the state now has an electronic record of all narcotic purchases — including those purchased by cash. If you fill a prescription for a narcotic by one doctor and then fill a same or similar prescription from another doctor within a 30-day period, the system notifies law enforcement.
Typically, law enforcement will then check with the prescribing physician who issues the latest prescription to see if he or she was aware of your previous prescription. If not, it could lead to charges of doctor shopping.
Doctor shopping is regarded aggressively by law enforcement these days. It’s become another way that police and prosecutors are attempting to shut down the pipeline making prescription narcotics available on the streets. To avoid getting caught up on a prescription drug charge due to doctor shopping, make sure that you are always 100 percent honest with your doctor about all of your prescriptions and previous treatment.