Painkiller addiction is an issue which has boomed in the last decade in America. The rate of sales of prescription pain killers has grown four times from 1999 to 2010. Addiction follows in the path of pill sales. Overdose deaths from painkillers have also grown four times from 1999 to 2010. “Doctor shopping” is a problem which only enables this addition to painkillers.
Governor Brown and members of the California Legislature are targeting “doctor shopping” with a new law. The law requires all physicians to check a statewide database to see if their patients are receiving drugs from any other doctors. Checking the database will prevent patients from doctor shopping to get an unnecessary amount of painkillers.
The process of “doctor shopping” is to see one doctor for a pain related issue, get prescribed a medication, and then do the same with many other doctors. It is a common way to fuel painkiller addition. The CDC states that in 2012, 259 million prescriptions were created for painkillers. This means that every adult in the U.S. could have their own bottle of pills.
California has an existing prescription drug monitoring program but few physicians normally use it. The new law is not creating any groundbreaking options, only enforcing physicians to use the existing program. Any patient caught “doctor shopping” is in for a nasty surprise at finding they could face serious jail time.
Consequences of “doctor shopping”
Under the Health & Safety Code, a patient can be criminally charged for “doctor shopping.” If a patient obtains a controlled substance by fraud, deceit, misinformation, or even by omitting facts, they could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Penalties are up to:
- 3 years in prison
- $20,000 in fines
- 5 years probation
- Community service
While the law aims to cut “doctor shopping,” the true significant will be in reducing overall addition rates. Everyday people with painkiller additions put themselves in real danger to continue receiving more pills. Many feel like it is their only option. And if you or anyone you care about is facing legal consequences due to “doctor shopping” then call an experienced lawyer today. They may be able to help reduce your overall sentence.
If you are facing a painkiller addiction then you can seek help through one of the many drug addiction programs offered around the state.