New Year, New Crackdown on Prescription Fraud

While the majority of Florida’s new laws tend to go into effect on July 1st, the start of the state’s fiscal year, a few became enforceable with the start of the year 2018. While this year’s new laws were few in number, they did include a substantial tightening of prescription drug laws, changing how doctors must write prescriptions for painkillers in an effort to fight a growing problem of opioid abuse.

What the New Law Says

This new law has several different provisions. For starters, any medical-strength painkiller must now be initially prescribed with just a five-day dosage supply. This initial prescription means that the patient must not have had any prescriptions for that particular medication in the last year. Once four days have passed on that initial five-day prescription, the doctor may then prescribe a 30-day supply, allowing patients who truly need the drugs to be able to attain them.

Lawmakers are hoping this reduces the number of people who become addicted to these painkillers, curbing medicinal thefts and other crimes that include prescription fraud. So if you notice that your painkiller subscription seems a little odd and you’re making several trips to the pharmacist to get the medications you need, this very likely could be the reason why.

What is Prescription Fraud?

When you hear the term “controlled substances,” the first thing that likely comes to mind is illegal drugs like methamphetamines, heroin, ecstasy, and many others. However, what you don’t often think of are “legal” drugs like painkillers, cholesterol medications, and even extra-strength allergy relief pills. The term “controlled substance” simply refers to anything which you cannot purchase without obtaining authorization from someone licensed to give it, and in the case of many of these medications, the person authorized is your doctor.

Doctors give this permission through the prescription system, which essentially is a document that legally authorizes a pharmacy to sell this controlled substance to you, and authorizes you as a consumer to purchase, possess, and use it. Prescription fraud is utilizing this prescription system in an illegitimate manner to obtain any of these substances you would otherwise not be authorized to obtain.

For example, stealing a doctor’s prescription pad and writing your own prescription for a supply of painkillers is considered prescription fraud. Paying a doctor “under the table” to write you one of these prescriptions when you don’t actually need it is illegal for both you and your doctor. Trying to pass yourself off as a doctor to obtain prescriptions you can use to fraudulently obtain these medications is against the law. And many, many other actions could be considered prescription fraud as well.

Legislators are hoping that by making stringent requirements for painkillers, they will curb the number of people who become addicted to them. Fewer addicted individuals means fewer attempts at committing prescription fraud as well as improved social health and wellness.

For more information about these new laws or legal representation if you find yourself facing accusations of prescription fraud, speak with a Miami drug crimes attorney today by calling Hager & Schwartz, P.A. at (305) 330-1360.

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