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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27473
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX Im a 29 year old female. When I

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Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a 29 year old female. When I was 24 I was diagnosed with a severe case of endometriosis which is a chronic pain condition and have had surgary on it in the past. My gynocologist lives in Arkansas where my parents still live and each time I see him he usually gives me pain medication for the chronic pain involved with my condition. I however live in California and also see a doctor here as well for the pain in between visits to Arkansas. It never occurred to me that this could be considered "dr. shopping" until I went to my dr. today and was told the DA had called him and told him not to give me any more pain pills. He did anyway since he's known me for years now and is so familiar with my condition. This really freaked me out though and I am wondering if I could be in any sort of trouble? I was also recently put on Adderall by my psychiatrist, could that have anything to do with it?
Hello Jacustomer,

These days it is harder than ever to get away with doctor shopping because an increasing number of states belong to a national data bank, meaning -- as you have already found out -- that if you fill a prescription in Arkansas and again in California the pharmacy will catch it and can report this to the doctors involved and to the authorities.

You can have more than one doctor. And both can prescribe you medication. What you can't do is lie to your doctors and not tell him what you are getting prescribed elsewhere, in order to get more medication than any one doctor would be willing to prescribe for you. That's doctor shopping, and it is a felony.

If the DA is already alerted to your situation, then not only are you at risk for a felony arrest, so is your doctor. In general, however, the criminal justice system equates these cases with substance abuse cases. That is, they are likely to offer a defendant felony probation with some kind of drug treatment component, perhaps drug court, for example, which would give a defendant the possibility of wiping the offense off of his record if he gets his pain management issues in hand and successfully complete the program requirements.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Oh God. What should I do? Should I contact the DA's office and let them know of my situation? Why haven't they contacted me directly about it?

Hello Ashley.

You should absolutely NOT say anything to the DA. The fact that you didn't realize that what you were doing had criminal implications is NOT a defense. There's a saying that "ignorance of the law is no excuse." Additionally, contacting the DA and trying to explain yourself is tantamount to making a confession. Remember that anything you say to anyone other than your own lawyer about something like this can be used against you.

It appears that the DA is not interested in prosecuting you at this time, but you are on notice that you cannot double up your prescriptions by using two doctors, if that's what you're doing. Here's the relevant California Law:

§ 11173. Fraud, deceit, misrepresentations.

(a) No person shall obtain or attempt to obtain controlled substances, or procure or attempt to procure the administration of or prescription for controlled substances,

(1) by fraud,deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge; or

(2) by the concealment of a material fact.

Keep in mind that you are on notice now that the DA is watching you and your doctor. Like I said, if you are using two doctors to double up the amount of medicine you're entitled to, that's doctor shopping. You should give up one of the doctors and that will solve the problem.

If, on the other hand, you are not filling both of the prescriptions in the same 30 day period, however, and if each doctor knows about the medication that the other is prescribing for you, that's NOT doctor shopping.

If the DA or the police contact you about this, do not talk to them at all about what you've said here. Just get yourself a criminal lawyer and follow his or her instructions. No need, however, to do that at this time.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay, last question. You say they are not interested in prosecuting me, do you know that because they haven't contacted me? I will definately not use any other doctors for pain medication except this one, is it still okay to get other medications from other doctors? For example to get adderall from my psychiatrist? She knows I'm on vicodin as well for pain management.


Yes, I am assuming that they are not interested in prosecuting you because they reached out to your doctor and not to yourself.

You can have as many doctors as you need, and as long as each doctor knows what medication the other doctors are prescribing for you, you can take the medicine that each of your doctors order. It is only when you lie to a doctor or leave out informaton about your history in order to get more of one drug than any one doctor would give you that you run afoul of doctor shopping laws.

So yes, you can get your pain meds from your regular doctor and your adderall from your psychiatrist without risking arrest.
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