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Old 07-28-2009, 02:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Doctor Shopping- whats the penalty?

A friend of mine is in deep. She called me up crying because she may be in big trouble. I told her I would see what I could do because she wasnt finding any info online.
I always bought my pills off of friends and dont know much about "doctor shopping". Apparently she has gotten 9 lortab prescriptions in the past 2 months, totaling about 200 pills. She said she didnt forge them, just exaggerated and got doctors to write them out for her.
She said that the other day she went to the pharmacy to get her meds and was "flagged" for copious amounts of prescription narcotics and the pharmacist didnt fill it and called the doctor.
I dont know what type of trouble she could be in. Technically the prescriptions are valid (she said all 9 came from 3 doctors) and she was taking them, not selling. Anyone know what could happen to her or what the likelihood is that she is in big trouble?
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Don't know what the law is like in the drug-fearing US but here the only thing that would happen is that doctor/clinic and pharmacy wouldn't give you anymore. It also depends on the circumstances, if you're evaluated and it's determined you were doing it because you were being undertreated for legitimate pain, you'd be given what you needed.
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure she just wont be able to get them. Usually pharmas and docs use a computer system to communicate about the "flagged" folks with each other.. she might wanna give sobriety a go, cuz it's gonna be awfully difficult to score for her now.
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have a Pharmacist who attends my Group Thearapy Sessions. He said the enforcement of the Anti-Doctor-Shopping Lawa accelerated after the Michael Jackson Death. They are requiring a National Perscription Database that Doctors must check for duplicate perscriptions from other Doctors prior to writing a perscription. The Pharmacy can check and flag suspecious activity too. The technical aspects of the system haven't been implimented Nationwide yet but it's coming. The days of going to six different Pain Clinics to score a couple of hundred Oxycontin are going to be over.
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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ok so I guess she probably wont go to jail since she isnt selling?
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, she *could*, it's illegal, and depends on state laws. Fraudulently obtaining controlled substances is something being very heavily tracked and investigated anymore. Technically the more she 'shops' the stronger a case can be built to charge her, if that's not in process already. Each charge can add up, and depending on the laws near her.. an arrest made, court.. jail..

I was thinking she was just flagged and was going to stop.. I would encourage her to stop asap, and get sober (and not switch to buying them on the street for goodness sake!).
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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She absolutely could face jail time, but will get a lesser sentence if she admits to a problem and goes to rehab.
I was in rehab with a girl who was doing the exact same thing and she had her kids taken away and after she completed rehab she had to report back to jail. A squad car came and picked her up. She wasn't even able to have weekend passes like the rest of us, and she could live in off campus housing after detox.
Not only was she 'doctor shopping', but she was calling in her own scripts.

Your friend better get help and soon!

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Old 07-28-2009, 06:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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wow thanks. I hope its not too late for her. shes really worried. its only been going on for 2 months though. i'll let you guys know what happens. anyone with more info would be great.
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Nallabelle, I don’t want to scare you or your friend. This is my personal story with doctor shopping.

I was arrested for doctor shopping in 2002. Got a good lawyer, I went to trial and received two years of (PTI) Pre Trial Intervention Program. I think only New Jersey has this program.

What is the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI)?

The Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) provides defendants, generally first-time offenders, with opportunities for alternatives to the traditional criminal justice process of ordinary prosecution. PTI seeks to render early rehabilitative services, when such services can reasonably be expected to deter future criminal behavior. The PTI program is based on a rehabilitative model that recognizes that there may be an apparent causal connection between the offense charged and the rehabilitative needs of a defendant. Further, the rehabilitative model emphasizes that social, cultural, and economic conditions often result in a defendant's decision to commit crime.

Simply stated, PTI strives to solve personal problems which tend to result from the conditions that appear to cause crime, and ultimately, to deter future criminal or disorderly behavior by a defendant.

What Are The Benefits of the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI)?

If PTI is successfully completed, there is no record of conviction and the defendant avoids the stigma of a criminal record.
Early intervention allows rehabilitative services to be provided soon after the alleged offense, in an attempt to correct the behavior that led to the offense.

Many of the costs associated with the formal court process are eliminated through acceptance into PTI.

PTI provides early resolution of a case which serves the interests of the victim, the public and the defendant.

PTI reduces the burden on the court and allows resources to be devoted to more serious criminals.

What are the Conditions for Participation In Pretrial Intervention?

Supervision under the PTI program may average from one to three years. Certain standard conditions are imposed on those accepted into PTI, such as, random urine monitoring, and assessments for fees, penalties and fines. Additional conditions may also be imposed to require the performance of community service, payment of restitution, and submission to psychological and/or drug and alcohol evaluations with compliance to recommended treatment programs.

If a defendant successfully completes all the conditions of PTI, then the original charges are dismissed and there is no record of conviction.

If a defendant does not successfully complete the conditions of PTI, then the defendant is terminated from the PTI program and the case is returned to the trial list.

That was the old Ivan.
I dont live like that today...
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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((Nallabelle)) - from what little I could find about it in GA, jail time IS possible, but depends on the person's criminal history. GA also has a "first offender" program, similar to what Ivan's PTI. I went through it when I got my drug charge (not doctor shopping) and as a result, I don't have a felony on my record.

Even if she doesn't get jail time, THIS TIME, this is a serious wake-up for her and I hope she realizes it and decides to seek recovery.

Hugs and prayers!

Amy
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I don't know who oversees that, DEA, state or local...

It depends a lot on whether the pharmacist or physician(s) report her... I kind of fall in with smacked on this... she is probably just cut off for now...

However...

Even before the Michael Jackson debacle, the DEA has made it known that it is very interested in diversion of narcotics... big time. They consider it a major problem in this country... and, well, it is... In Pennsylvania, the state attorney general is vigorously pursuing doc's who hand out prescriptions for the asking (well, pay that office visit first...)... As well they should, they are just drug pushers in my opinion... and it's not hard to tell a "bad" doc from one who is just sensitive (maybe even overly so) to their patients need, stated or real, for pain meds and the like...

My guess is that jail time for doctor shoppers would be much more likely if they were turning around and selling their prescriptions on the street... than say, some one who is using a whole lot... And, certainly, someone who phones in their own prescriptions and/or forges a prescription, will be looking at real trouble... But that is just my guess...

Wake up call for your friend...

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Old 07-28-2009, 06:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Doctor Shopping:

I don't know but the DEA is all over that stuff now. And when the DEA gets involved its federal offenses with mandatory prison time...period...or unless otherwise indicated...hopefully.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I too live in NC, and I will tell you they take that pretty seriously here. I have a Xanax perscirption that I don't abuse and they called me out for filling it a few weeks early. I take it as perscribed, but it is a fairly high dosage and it got flagged when I moved here. I have a new doctor here and am planning on tapering off of it because I don't think it is a good idea for me anyway, but they put that road block in front of me before I was even ready for it. Not saying she's gonna go to jail or anything, but it is definately something that is watched in this state. Take care.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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My AH in VA got 6 months in jail and 15 years probation for doc shopping....a major felony in our state and that was 15 years ago....no prior records and no violence. Just a pharmacist who suspected and informed the cops.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:34 PM   #15 (permalink)
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If you want to see the poster child for Doctor Shopping - just look at what happened to Rush Limbaugh. Your friend CAN get arrested for it. The Feds are probably following up on the first doc and when they get up to #3 she could get busted big time. My sis-in-law did jail time for this and writing scrips. Best for her to head into rehab, cos in jail they make you go CT in your cell.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Florida is mandatory jail time for doctor shopping...up to 3 years at the most depending on the amount of medication you have received in that time. There is also restitution to the state (which I think is ridiculous). Wouldn't pull that here, though. Pharmacies are all linked up down here. You may get away with it once...but that's about it.

And fraudulent scripts? You can get up to 10 years in jail for that. Not worth it.
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:20 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I talked to my friend again. She doesnt have a criminal record but I am wondering how they can prove she doctor shopped. like I said it was 3 doctors in 2 months., 9 scripts.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:18 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Bottom line for prosecutors: she obtained narcotics fraudulently. Duplicate scripts are proof. They see this a lot and aren't naive. If they were to make the effort to contact all three doctors, it would be apparent. It's then up to the prosecutor.

My best educated guess? Nothing this time. However, and here's where it gets insane: if she gets away with it and makes no attempt at getting clean, odds are she'll try again. Maybe it's time for your friend to get totally honest and stop jeopardizing her future.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:52 AM   #19 (permalink)
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My addict awareness antenna is shot.

Scratching my head here.

Something not right about this thread???

Or its just me?

Scratching head again.

Never mind….
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:05 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I got it.

I google doctor shopping laws and got one million and a half hits.

Nallabelle, what search engine your friend uses?
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