Doctor Shopping – How States Are Preventing It
Some people may be curious where drug dealers get their supplies or how addicts have a constant supply of their fix. In the last few decades, the term doctor shopping has emerged on the scene. Doctor shopping is the act of visiting many different doctors and faking or exaggerating symptoms in order to get a prescription from them.
This is done to gain multiple prescriptions at once from a variety of doctors and pharmacies; these drugs will then be sold illegally to those willing to pay exaggerated prices or kept and stashed so that the addict never has to go without.
Patients can then get multiple fills of prescriptions from various doctors and pharmacists because most don’t have any way of knowing if the person has gotten their prescription filled elsewhere. These people are typically doctor shopping for pain medication like Percocet, tranquilizers, and opiates. Others are using this method to get a hold of amphetamines such as Adderall, which they will then resell on high school and college campuses across the country.
How States Are Preventing It
Many states have begun to take part in drug-monitoring databases. These systems allow for pharmacists to tell if the person has recently had a prescription filled elsewhere or have been prescribed through multiple doctors. If an overlapping prescription is found, then legal repercussions may be pursued. Doctor-shopping is prosecuted as a felony and the person can receive up to five years in prison.
New York’s I-STOP (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing) caught nearly 200 hundred doctor shoppers the first week it was put to use. Kentucky, the number one doctor-shopping state, has also seen success in implementing their state-wide program.
As doctor-shoppers make up 1% of the prescription drug recipients in the United States, these new implements are beneficial towards keeping drugs off of the streets and out of adolescents’ hands. In some states, doctors may soon be required to check this database before prescribing any sort of medicine.
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Some claim that these databases breech doctor-patient confidentiality, but many more are arguing that it will save lives, with nearly 15,000 people dying from prescription drug overdose and abuse annually. Unfortunately, we may not have to worry over these concerns, as the databases are only of patchwork quality.
Because there is no central government database, these only help when patients attempt to get multiple prescriptions in the same state. For it to be truly effective, many believe these databases would need to be nationwide, in real time, and doctors would have to be required to use them.
Doctors are also being more wary. If a patient comes in complaining of generalized pain, not giving specific symptoms, and asks for specific medication, there is a high likelihood that they are doctor shopping. Others who continuously claim to lose their medication, who have claimed it got ruined or stolen are also under scrutiny.
Unfortunately, these attempts to halt doctor shopping are causing those who are trying to obtain the drugs to go to more extreme measures. Some have learned how to tamper MRIs in order to fake symptoms and extreme pain. Others use aliases and fake Ids in order for their names not to be found in the database. No matter what regulations are put in place, there will always be those who find their way around the rules.
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If you want to learn more about doctor-shopping or believe you may know someone who is participating in the act, contact us today. We can help provide you the information you need and answer any questions you may have.