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Doctor shopping can lead to criminal charges in Arizona

For a person who is addicted to prescription pain medications, there is almost no end to what they will do to get the drugs they need for their next high. Some of these individuals doctor shop to get doctors to write prescriptions for these drugs. The problem with this is that doctor shopping for prescription medications is illegal.

A patient who doctor shops visits more than one doctor without letting each doctor know they are receiving treatment from another doctor. This is done in order to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances. There are instances in which drug overdoses from prescription drugs occur. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that more than half of drug overdose-related deaths in 2011 were caused by overdoses of prescription medications. The risk of death because of these prescription drugs is the basis for laws that prohibit doctor shopping.

In Arizona, laws governing doctor shopping were pulled from two sources -- the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act. The general doctor shopping laws prohibit a patient from using subterfuge, fraud, misrepresentation and other forms of alteration or concealment of facts in order to get a prescription for a controlled substance, such as an opioid pain reliever.

When it comes to doctor shopping, doctor-patient confidentiality isn't a factor in Arizona. Instead, the information that the patient gives the doctor in an attempt to get the prescription isn't considered a privileged communication.

If you are facing criminal charges related to doctor shopping, you must work to understand the case against you. This might include information provided to medical professionals. Convictions on drug charges in Arizona can lead to serious penalties so you must get started on your defense strategy right away.

Source: United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Doctor Shopping Laws," accessed Aug. 24, 2015

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