The term doctor shopping is defined as obtaining controlled substances from multiple healthcare practitioners without the prescriber’s knowledge of other prescriptions. It refers to the deliberate use of more than one physician in order to obtain prescriptions for a greater amount of medications than would be prescribed by a single physician.
Why do Addicts Doctor Shop?
This is done for otherwise illegal drug use or selling of the drug. The addict is disregarding the medical opinion that they want to hear because they are hooked on the drug. There are varied reasons why someone would doctor shop other than illicitly. There is a danger of misuse and inevitable overdoses in obtaining unnecessary prescription medications for illicit use. The National Institutes of Health explains that not all doctor shopping is driven by suspect behaviors as there are psychological factors and illness factors that are justified.
Some patient explanations for this phenomenon relate to clinician factors, such as inconvenient office hours or locations, long waiting times, personal characteristics or qualities of the provider, and/or insufficient communication time between the patient and clinician. (NIH)
Is There a Way to Prevent Doctor Shopping?
There is a prescription monitoring program in 49 states, District of Columbia and Guam (U.S territory). Below is a chart of the states in the USA that have drug monitoring programs provided by the National Institute of health.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, also referred to as PPMDs, are highly effective tools utilized by government officials for reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion. PDMPs collect, monitor, and analyze electronically transmitted prescribing and dispensing data submitted by pharmacies and dispensing practitioners. The agencies that administer the PDMP are Boards of Pharmacy, Departments of Health, Professional Licensing, Law Enforcement, Substance Abuse, and Consumer Protection. PDMPs collect federal schedules II-IV, which contain narcotics like hydrocodone, tranquilizers like alprazolam and diazepam, and stimulants like methylphenidate and butalbital.
How is Doctor Shopping a Problem?
The hope of the addict is that doctors don’t connect that they go to multiple places to attain the same prescriptions. This is a huge problem. This is against federal law and is considered a felony. The result of getting caught in most cases is several years in prison and or a multi-thousand-dollar fine. The percentage of patients that doctor shop varies, but it is an understood prevalent problem. Statistics show that over 20 percent of overdose deaths demonstrated evidence of doctor shopping before death. Sometimes doctors are in on the scam, as is the case with so-called “pill mills” that are notorious for selling to addicts and dealers. The Uniform Narcotic Drug Act states the following that “No person shall obtain or attempt to obtain a narcotic drug or procure or attempt to procure the administration of a narcotic drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge or by the concealment of a material fact.”
How Can Recreate Life Counseling Help You?
Recreate Life Counseling is conveniently located in Boynton Beach, Florida. We offer partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient therapy. If you find that you have been doctor shopping and abusing prescription drugs because of addiction, it may be the right time to make the decision to come, get treatment. We want you to know that you don’t have to stay an addict. We are available all 24 hours of the day to consult with you. We will explain exactly how our detox and outpatients’ programs work and help you determine the best road of action for you as an individual. Our admissions team is on standby for waiting on your call.