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Obtaining a Prescription May Not Eliminate the Possibility of Facing Florida Drug Crime Charges

You may assume that only doctors can face criminal charges when they prescribe controlled substances without making sure they do not duplicate prescriptions from other medical providers. However, Florida has specific doctor shopping laws that hold patients accountable for this act — and those patients can potentially face felony charges.

Doctor shopping is a common practice in Florida in which patients stock up on prescription drugs such as oxycodone, Valium and Xanax by visiting multiple doctors with medical complaints. Doctors may not always be aware that a patient is doctor-shopping, so Florida instituted a specific statute to address the problem. Informally known as the doctor shopping statute, the law requires patients to notify doctors if they received a prescription for a controlled substance from another practitioner within the previous 30 days.

Of course, not all charges of doctor shopping turn into drug-crime convictions. The average patient may not be aware of the notification requirements and may see more than one physician for several valid reasons, including the following:

  • The patient may visit different specialists to address different medical conditions, receiving prescriptions from each provider.

  • An out-of-state visitor may have forgotten to pack legal prescriptions and legitimately need help for pain or other concerns during a vacation.

  • The patient may have properly disclosed current prescriptions in writing before seeing a doctor who failed to review the information prior to prescribing.

Regardless of your reasons for obtaining prescriptions from more than one doctor, you can face serious criminal prosecution. Even if you know you are innocent of all charges, never assume you can help your case by discussing it with law enforcement officials. Take full advantage of your Miranda rights by stating that you want to remain silent. Immediately thereafter, contact a Florida criminal defense attorney with experience in drug crimes to help protect your rights and your freedom.

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