Prescription Fraud & Doctor Shopping Charges?

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Prescription drug abuse in America has been classified as an epidemic by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as more and more Americans are becoming addicted to prescription drugs—either from treating diagnosed illnesses and/or from nonmedical use. It has been reported that in the U.S. alone, an estimated 54 million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetime and such recreational use has led to millions of people—sadly—developing an addiction to prescription drugs. Overdoses involving prescription painkillers have continuously increased over the years—including here in Georgia—and every day about 50 Americans die from prescription painkiller overdoses. So, what exactly is prescription drug abuse and why is it a crime?

Prescription drug abuse refers to obtaining and/or using a prescribed drug without a valid prescription. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), many addicts take drugs that have been prescribed to someone else, which include: OxyContin (opioid), Valium (depressant), Ritalin (stimulant) and Dextromethorphan (an ingredient in cough medicines) just to name a few. When an addict runs out of a validly prescribed drug and can’t secure any from anyone else, their addiction can lead to criminal behavior such as forging prescriptions. Others, engage in doctor shopping, which is also illegal under Georgia law. And, there can be serious consequences.

Prescription Fraud & Penalties in Georgia…

Under Georgia law, “obtaining or attempting to obtain dangerous drugs by fraud, forgery, or concealment of a material fact” is a misdemeanor. Which, means that any person who forges a prescription can face jail time for up to a year. Georgia Code O.C.G.A. §16-13-78 states that no person shall obtain or attempt to obtain any dangerous drug or attempt to procure the administration of any such drug by: (1) fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge; (2) the forgery or alteration of any prescription or of any written order; (3) the concealment of a material fact; or (4) the use of a false name or the giving of a false address.

Doctor Shopping & Penalties in Georgia…

The unauthorized distribution of Schedule I or II drugs acquired or obtained by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, subterfuge or theft is a more serious offense and a felony punishable by up to 8 years, a $50,000 fine or both. O.C.G.A. §16-13-43. Further, under the same code, “doctor shopping” is forbidden. The law specifically states that “to withhold information from a practitioner that such person has obtained a controlled substance of a similar therapeutic use in a concurrent time period from another practitioner” is also a felony punishable by up to 8 years, a $50,000 fine or both.

Contact Bixon Law…

Misuse of prescriptions drugs is dangerous to your health. And, illegally obtaining those prescription drugs is a detriment to your freedom. If you have been accused of forging a prescription or possessing illegally-obtained prescription drugs, give us a call. Maybe you didn’t know the prescription you used was forged or maybe the charges against you were the fruits of an unlawful search or seizure. We won’t only help you fight your case but if you suffer from a drug addiction, we will get you help.

Remember that we are always here to help and will work tirelessly to get your case resolved with the best possible outcome. If you or a loved one are under prescription fraud investigation or have been charged with doctor shopping, please call Bixon Law at 404-551-5684 for a free consultation today.

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