After your injury or surgery, you probably relied on prescription pain medication just to get through the night or rest during the day so you could recover. When your prescription expired, perhaps you asked your doctor for a refill. With each refill request, your doctor may have made it more difficult for you, requiring you to come in for a checkup or suggesting you try alternate forms of pain management. You may have turned to another doctor for help.
In fact, you may have turned to several doctors. If your need for the pain medication is no longer related to your injury, you may be like over 52 million Americans who have fallen into prescription drug abuse. You may be feeding your habit by doctor shopping, which involves seeing numerous doctors to obtain prescriptions for no medical purpose.
Understanding doctor shopping
Doctor shopping can lead to serious legal trouble. Since the offense often includes elements of fraud, possession of controlled substances and even forgery, you may face felony charges if a court convicts you. This could result in years in prison and thousands in fines. Some of the signs of doctor shopping include the following:
- Claiming you lost your medicine or that someone stole it
- Reacting with great emotion or anger when someone questions you about your drug use
- Having multiple bottles of medication from different doctors
- Requesting a specific dosage or brand of medication
- Increasing the amount of pills you take because they no longer seem to work
- Asking your physician to increase the dosage frequently
- Paying with cash instead of through your insurance
- Seeing doctors or using pharmacies that are in another town or city in California
You may also display behaviors that are typical in drug addiction. You may not notice, but your friends and family may see these signs:
- Mood swings or changes in your behavior
- Frequent illness
- Excuses for missing family functions
- Missed work due to unexplained illness
- Changes in your appearance
- Neglect of your personal hygiene
- Frequent requests for money
If you recognize these or other signs of addiction, you would be wise to seek help quickly because your life may be in danger. Doctor shopping often involves combining different types of drugs, and this interaction could produce deadly results. Additionally, you would be wise to seek legal help if you are under suspicion for doctor shopping. The consequences of a conviction may prevent you from getting your life back on track.