People suffering from addictions to painkillers and other drugs might discover that finding a doctor willing to write their prescriptions is difficult. One dubious solution involves searching around Illinois doctors’ offices for a physician who provides the necessary approval. Someone might even get the same prescription from multiple doctors. This process, called “doctor shopping,” may lead someone to harsher criminal charges than expected.
Laws try to dissuade doctor shopping
A person addicted to prescription pills might use a dangerous quantity of drugs per day, and doctor shopping becomes a way to procure enough pills to deal with their addiction. Since the patient has to withhold information from a doctor, such as already having an approved prescription for the drug, the patient violates federal law. Employing misrepresentation, concealment and fraud is illegal under two federal laws.
The Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program attempts to keep track of suspicious activity. Some doctor shoppers may still be successful and procure their desired prescriptions, but legal troubles might soon follow.
Criminal possession and distribution charges
Some people choose to doctor shop to stockpile drugs with the intent of selling them. The state and federal charges for drug possession with the intent to distribute could leave the accused looking at a lengthy prison sentence. In addition, the defendant might face multiple charges in court for various related offenses.
The patient isn’t the only person looking at potential legal troubles, either. Doctors providing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose may go to court on drug charges, possibly federal ones.
A plea bargain agreement could lead to a reduced sentence for someone accused of drug crimes. Plea bargaining might be worth considering when the prosecutor’s case is strong. A criminal law attorney might advise a client about a defense strategy to get the charges dismissed or reduced via a plea bargain.