Making a Positive Impact

Opioid crisis might lead those with medical need to commit crimes

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2023 | Criminal Law |

The over-prescription of opioid drugs and the nationwide addiction problem that followed has reached crisis levels over the past few years. The U.S. government responded by issuing guidelines in 2016 making it more difficult for physicians to prescribe opioid painkillers.

Results of the crackdown

As a result of the crackdown on the prescription of opioids, now even patients with a legitimate medical need for opioid painkillers are having a hard time finding physicians willing to prescribe them and pharmacies willing to fill them. And even though the federal government has loosened restrictions on the prescription of opioid painkillers, many are still having to go without.

This might lead some to take desperate measures, such as forging a prescription or “doctor shopping,” to obtain opioid painkillers. However, as much as a person may need these medications, such actions are illegal and carry stiff penalties.

Forging prescriptions

Georgia Code states that it is against the law to obtain a dangerous drug through forging or altering a prescription. In general, you cannot obtain a dangerous drug at all through fraud or misrepresentation. Doing so is a misdemeanor crime.

Doctor shopping

Doctor shopping” is the practice of seeing numerous physicians in order to obtain the same prescription more than once. This is also against the law.

Georgia code states that it is illegal to not tell a physician who has prescribed you an opioid painkiller or other controlled substance that you already have a valid prescription for this medication from another physician. Doing so is a felony crime that can result in an eight-year prison sentence and/or a $50,000 fine.

A rock and a hard place

Many people who legitimately need opioid painkillers are unable to obtain them. Still, they should not let this lead them down the path of committing a drug crime, such as obtaining drugs through a forged prescription or “doctor shopping” to obtain a drug.