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Can I be charged with the crime of 'doctor shopping'?

The phrase "doctor shopping" has taken on a very negative meaning in recent years. Today, it typically refers to visiting multiple physicians or health care providers in an attempt to obtain multiple prescriptions for the same drug.

Visiting more than one doctor certainly isn't illegal. Nor it is unlawful to receive prescriptions from more than one provider. However, the problem comes in when the second physician isn't aware that you already received a prescription from the first physician.

Trying to mislead or trick a doctor into giving you more of a controlled substance than you need is considered fraud. In fact, fraudulently possessing prescription medications is one of the most common types of drug crimes in Georgia and in other states across the country.

Why is it considered such a problem?

Doctor shopping is a serious problem for several different reasons. One reason is that it can easily lead to drug overdoses and death. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls it an "unprecedented epidemic" and points out that over the course of only one year, more than 22,000 people died from overdosing on prescription drugs. Most of these drugs were opium-related pain killers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone.

Another reason is that some people with multiple prescriptions end up selling the extra drugs, creating illegal drug sales and trafficking rings.

What are the consequences of a conviction?

In Georgia, you can face very serious consequences for prescription drug fraud, including years of prison time and heavy fines. This means that if you are charged with this or any other type of drug crime, it's worthwhile to get an experienced criminal law attorney on your side right away. He or she can help you develop the strongest defense strategy possible under the facts of your case.

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