Doctor Shopping May Be Fueling the Prescription Drug Problem

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Addiction can effect just about anyone, regardless of where they were born, how rich (or poor) their families were growing up, and whether they are now currently successful in life with a good job or the opposite, someone living in poverty. It doesn’t matter if you are a hardened criminal just released from jail, or a college student completing their degree because they caught a lucky break or could simply afford to further their education. This fact doesn’t surprise many addiction experts, which could be an addiction counselor or even a health care specialist, but the fact is many doctors who have the power to prescribe very potent and strong medications (whether it be painkillers, sedatives etc) are often duped by addicts who know the system and know exactly what to tell their physicians in order to get the pills they want. Some addicts trick their doctors in order to get the high they need, others complain of various symptoms that are hard to detect conclusively in order to get a sufficient amount of pills to then sell them on the street like cocaine or heroin. As these medications from doctors are often very expensive and hard to come by, a dealer can make a pretty penny by selling them to teenagers, party-goers and of course, the addict who has been cut off from their doctor but desperately needs the pills to carry on.

The problem, besides the fact that prescription medications are being sold on the street, is that addicts and con-artists alike have discovered that the best way to get their fix is not to rely upon tricking their trusted family physician, or by showing up to an emergency room demanding a prescription. They have realized that it’s much more economical to simply “doctor shop” (the practice of deceiving several doctors simultaneously into giving them the drugs they desire). Truth be told it is a brilliant strategy. Because of the difficulty of communication between doctors, and the fact that because an addict doesn’t visit the same doctor every week, an addict has basically an endless supply of whatever drug they’re after without raising as much suspicion.

The problem has reached very serious levels in California, forcing doctors, law enforcement and pharmacists into action in order to combat the doctor shopping that’s leading to a growing underground market for prescribed medications as well as the destruction these pills are having on the addicts who can’t live without them.

Good physicians will only prescribe a number of pills, (so) they will go to multiple doctors to feed their addiction.“But part of this disturbing trend is when people go to 100 doctors in six months and the pills are being diverted for sale. The sheriff’s office has made progress in “pulling back the covers” on the problem by encouraging the use of the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). The system allows physicians, pharmacists and police to look at a patient’s history to cut down on prescription drug abuse.
The system contains information on what doctors offices and pharmacies the patient has visited to determine if they are guilty of doctor shopping.



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Sobriety Foundation

Doctor Shopping May Be Fueling the Prescription Drug Problem

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