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Prescription drugs: Florida's doctor shopping laws

When people think of illegal drugs and drugs crimes, substances like cocaine, heroin or even marijuana may come to mind. However, charges can also involve prescription medications. One of the lesser known issues with prescription drugs is what is referred to as doctor shopping.

Exact laws vary by state, with some states having general laws prohibiting doctor shopping, while others also include specific laws. Florida is currently the only state in the country that does not have a general law regarding doctor shopping but does have specific laws prohibiting it.

Doctor shopping is when someone goes to multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions for the same medication. In these situations, the health care practitioners are unaware the patient has already been prescribed the drug by another doctor, and this is one way that some people get large quantities of controlled medications.

In Florida, the law specifies that prescription drugs must have a specific time frame in which the patient is supposed to be taking them. The law also mandates that all patients receive an in-person physical examination before being prescribed any controlled substance. Doctors found to have prescribed medications without seeing the patient in person are subject to sanctions including having their medical licenses revoked.

Prescription drug cases often involve defendants other than the patient who was prescribed the pills. In some situations, the doctor or pharmacist may also face criminal charges. The penalties can be very serious and have life-long consequences. Those who have questions about being charged with possession of prescription drugs can talk to an attorney to find out more.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Law: Doctor Shopping," accessed March. 26, 2015

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