When people think of drug crimes, they often think of marijuana, cocaine, and discreet sales on dark streets. However, when it comes to prescription pills, many crimes happen right in the office. Let’s go over prescription pill crime, what doctor shopping is, and potential penalties for this felony offense.
Prescription Pill Crimes
Each year, billions of prescriptions are filled in the United States. While most are necessary for medical conditions, a number of prescriptions are illegally written and obtained.
Prescription pills crimes occur when:
- An individual is found in possession of an unauthorized prescription;
- An individual distributes or intends to distribute prescription medication; or,
- A doctor issues fake prescriptions (malpractice).
One method that individuals use to gain possession of large amounts of prescription drugs is doctor shopping.
Doctor shopping occurs when an individual makes numerous appointments with different doctors in order to get multiple prescriptions for the same drug. The individual may lie about symptoms or even purposefully injure themselves in order to get a prescription. Because doctors are being deceived into prescribing medication, they are not liable.
The drugs most commonly involved in doctor shopping are Oxycotin, Opana, and Adderall.
Penalties for Doctor Shopping
In Florida, doctor shopping is a third-degree felony.
If charged, individuals face:
- Up to five years in prison
- A $5,000 fine
Depending on the circumstances of the arrest and what charges the prosecutors choose to pursue, offenders can also be charged with drug trafficking.
Drug trafficking is punishable by:
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Over $10,000 in fines
Many cases of doctor shopping stem from underlying drug addiction disorders. In these cases, defense attorneys can push for alternative sentencing for their clients. An example of this would be rather than jail time, the defendant enters a drug treatment program. Upon successful completion of the program, the initial charges may be reduced or dropped. This allows the defendant to get the help they need.
Miami Drug Crime Defense to Depend On
Law enforcement has been actively investigating cases of healthcare fraud and doctor shopping in Florida. If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today. We have more than 40 years of combined experience handling a wide range of drug cases and can craft a strong defense on your behalf.