Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Addiction and Doctor Shopping

Addiction and Doctor ShoppingThe West Virginia Controlled Substance Monitoring Program (CSMP) released a study in 2012 that looked at prescription drug overdoses between July 2005 and December 2007. This study identified that of the 700ish adults who had died, 25% had doctor shopped and nearly 18% had pharmacy shopped. Doctor shopping means someone sees several physicians and rattles off symptoms to acquire a particular prescription. Doctor shoppers often do internet research to know which symptoms to mention, and they usually suffer a prescription drug addiction. Common targets are narcotic painkillers (e.g., Percocet, OxyContin and Vicodin), anti-anxiety medications (Xanax and Klonopin) and amphetamines (Adderall and Ritalin), among others.

Doctor shopping is illegal, as it is considered fraud. Various statutes prohibit people from procuring prescription drugs through deceit, misrepresentation and concealing facts. Furthermore, several states have laws against the act, and they also fight doctor shopping through the following programs:

  • Prescription monitoring program (PMP)
  • National patient databases for controlled substances
  • Physician training to recognize doctor shoppers

There are now significant legal risks to doctor shopping, but the health risks are even more serious.

Dangers of Multiple Prescriptions

The aforementioned CSMP report also noted that overdoses on controlled substances rose 550 percent from 1999 to 2004. Additionally, a 2012 report from the US government’s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) showed that this statistic is still rising. The DAWN report looked at drug-related emergency room visits for 2010 and discovered the following information:

  • Prescription drugs now top illicit drugs in emergency room visits
  • There were 4.4 medical emergencies related to pharmaceuticals per 1,000 adult citizens
  • Abuse-related pharmaceutical emergencies rose 115% between 2004 and 2010
  • Adverse reactions to prescription drugs rose 86% between 2005 and 2010

Overdose and adverse reactions are a major concern, especially if the doctor shopper takes different types of drugs. While drugs have different properties and functions, their combined effects on the respiratory system can cause a fatal reaction. Likewise, patients should avoid taking a number of drugs together, and doctors cannot level this warning if the patient does not confess her medication habits.

Prescription Addiction Treatment

There is an easy way to stop doctor shopping, and it is through rehab. Proper help can treat substance abuse through any of the following methods:

  • Supervised detox with a tapered reduction
  • Screenings to identity and treat mental health issues like depression and anxiety
  • Behavioral therapies that target the way patients process information and emotions
  • Counseling to explore coping mechanisms and drug use triggers
  • Group therapy to express feelings and learn from other patients’ experiences
  • Holistic options to treat chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and similar issues

Many courts require rehab for drug-related crimes, which shows how helpful they know rehab to be. Still, it is better to get professional help before being arrested and charged for drug issues.

Help Breaking Drug Addiction

If you want to stop doctor shopping and break your addiction, we can help. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to discuss warning signs, rehab facilities and treatment options. We can also check health insurance policies for treatment benefits. Don’t become a statistic in another government report; call our toll-free helpline and get help today.

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