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What is doctor shopping and why is it against the law?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2023 | Drug Charges

The drug crimes most are familiar with involve substances that typical Americans cannot access, like cocaine or methamphetamine. However, not all drug crime cases are built on generally unlawful substances.

Those alleged to have engaged in doctor shopping to obtain prescribed medicine also run a high risk of conviction if charged. If you have never heard of doctor shopping, be careful because you could be committing this offense without your awareness.

What is it?

Doctor shopping includes elements like manipulation and deception in most cases. For example, those addicted to opioids often see several doctors to obtain multiple pain pill prescriptions.

They might lie about their symptoms or personal information during these visits. Another form of doctor shopping involves claiming the medication was stolen or lost to obtain another prescription.

What makes it illegal?

It seems like doctor shopping would not be unlawful because those accused do not harm anyone or steal anything. However, since it involves the element of fraud (lying, misrepresentation, etc.), it is against the law.

On the federal level, the offense is easier to define. The federal statute makes it a crime to possess controlled substances obtained through fraud or misrepresentation.

Seek help

Doctor shopping is typically a serious felony offense. If convicted, defendants face the possibility of serving substantial prison time and paying expensive fines. Try not to despair—you have defense options to consider that could improve your situation.

For example, first-time offenders may qualify for drug diversion programs to help overcome their addiction and possibly avoid incarceration. Consider seeking legal guidance for more on creating an effective drug defense in Maryland.