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legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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I am a licensed physician in Florida. My wife is under the

Customer Question

I am a licensed physician in Florida. My wife is under the care of a pain management physician who she sees monthly for refills of 2 kinds of schedule II narcotics. I administer my wife's pain meds daily from a locked safe. Today, I discovered that a total of a 5 day supply of her pain meds are missing. When she runs out (soon) she will undergo severe withdrawal symptoms. My wife has NO access to the safe and therefore I suspect the pharmacist miscounted the pills when they were filled. She sees her physician in 10 days. Am I justified in writing 2 Rxs for a 5 day supply of each med? It might be considered an emergency situation. I tried calling her physician's office but they have not returned my calls.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your patience as I reviewed the relevant statutes;

basically a medical provider may only issue a controlled substance in the doctor/patient context, when there is a written record of the medical history - basically a documented medical history indicating prior medical relationship with an individualized plan, with regular medical appointments- so a one time prescription is not conducive to these requirements, and by writing it on behalf of a family member it would be subject to even greater scrutiny. Basically one can contact the prescribing physician (they usually have emergency numbers in the evening) to obtain a refill.

relevant portion of statute 456.44 located here



(a) Designate himself or herself as a controlled substance prescribing practitioner on his or her practitioner profile.

(b) Comply with the requirements of this section and applicable board rules.

(3) STANDARDS OF PRACTICE.—The standards of practice in this section do not supersede the level of care, skill, and treatment recognized in general law related to health care licensure.

(a) A complete medical history and a physical examination must be conducted before beginning any treatment and must be documented in the medical record. The exact components of the physical examination shall be left to the judgment of the registrant who is expected to perform a physical examination proportionate to the diagnosis that justifies a treatment. The medical record must, at a minimum, document the nature and intensity of the pain, current and past treatments for pain, underlying or coexisting diseases or conditions, the effect of the pain on physical and psychological function, a review of previous medical records, previous diagnostic studies, and history of alcohol and substance abuse. The medical record shall also document the presence of one or more recognized medical indications for the use of a controlled substance. Each registrant must develop a written plan for assessing each patient’s risk of aberrant drug-related behavior, which may include patient drug testing. Registrants must assess each patient’s risk for aberrant drug-related behavior and monitor that risk on an ongoing basis in accordance with the plan.

(b) Each registrant must develop a written individualized treatment plan for each patient. The treatment plan shall state objectives that will be used to determine treatment success, such as pain relief and improved physical and psychosocial function, and shall indicate if any further diagnostic evaluations or other treatments are planned. After treatment begins, the registrant shall adjust drug therapy to the individual medical needs of each patient. Other treatment modalities, including a rehabilitation program, shall be considered depending on the etiology of the pain and the extent to which the pain is associated with physical and psychosocial impairment. The interdisciplinary nature of the treatment plan shall be documented.

(c) The registrant shall discuss the risks and benefits of the use of controlled substances, including the risks of abuse and addiction, as well as physical dependence and its consequences, with the patient, persons designated by the patient, or the patient’s surrogate or guardian if the patient is incompetent. The registrant shall use a written controlled substance agreement between the registrant and the patient outlining the patient’s responsibilities, including, but not limited to:

1. Number and frequency of controlled substance prescriptions and refills.

2. Patient compliance and reasons for which drug therapy may be discontinued, such as a violation of the agreement.

3. An agreement that controlled substances for the treatment of chronic nonmalignant pain shall be prescribed by a single treating registrant unless otherwise authorized by the treating registrant and documented in the medical record.

(d) The patient shall be seen by the registrant at regular intervals, not to exceed 3 months, to assess the efficacy of treatment, ensure that controlled substance therapy remains indicated, evaluate the patient’s progress toward treatment objectives, consider adverse drug effects, and review the etiology of the pain. Continuation or modification of therapy shall depend on the registrant’s evaluation of the patient’s progress. If treatment goals are not being achieved, despite medication adjustments, the registrant shall reevaluate the appropriateness of continued treatment. The registrant shall monitor patient compliance in medication usage, related treatment plans, controlled substance agreements, and indications of substance abuse or diversion at a minimum of 3-month intervals.

(e) The registrant shall refer the patient as necessary for additional evaluation and treatment in order to achieve treatment objectives. Special attention shall be given to those patients who are at risk for misusing their medications and those whose living arrangements pose a risk for medication misuse or diversion. The management of pain in patients with a history of substance abuse or with a comorbid psychiatric disorder requires extra care, monitoring, and documentation and requires consultation with or referral to an addiction medicine specialist or a psychiatrist.

(f) A registrant must maintain accurate, current, and complete records that are accessible and readily available for review and comply with the requirements of this section, the applicable practice act, and applicable board rules. The medical records must include, but are not limited to:

1. The complete medical history and a physical examination, including history of drug abuse or dependence.

2. Diagnostic, therapeutic, and laboratory results.

3. Evaluations and consultations.

4. Treatment objectives.

5. Discussion of risks and benefits.

6. Treatments.

7. Medications, including date, type, dosage, and quantity prescribed.

8. Instructions and agreements.

9. Periodic reviews.

10. Results of any drug testing.

11. A photocopy of the patient’s government-issued photo identification.

12. If a written prescription for a controlled substance is given to the patient, a duplicate of the prescription.

13. The registrant’s full name presented in a legible manner.

(g) A registrant shall immediately refer patients with signs or symptoms of substance abuse to a board-certified pain management physician, an addiction medicine specialist, or a mental health addiction facility as it pertains to drug abuse or addiction unless the registrant is a physician who is board-certified or board-eligible in pain management. Throughout the period of time before receiving the consultant’s report, a prescribing registrant shall clearly and completely document medical justification for continued treatment with controlled substances and those steps taken to ensure medically appropriate use of controlled substances by the patient. Upon receipt of the consultant’s written report, the prescribing registrant shall incorporate the consultant’s recommendations for continuing, modifying, or discontinuing controlled substance therapy. The resulting changes in treatment shall be specifically documented in the patient’s medical record. Evidence or behavioral indications of diversion shall be followed by discontinuation of controlled substance therapy, and the patient shall be discharged, and all results of testing and actions taken by the registrant shall be documented in the patient’s medical record.

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Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.

Also please see subsec (m) and (q) which violations can result in disciplinary action: section 458.331 here:


(m) Failing to keep legible, as defined by department rule in consultation with the board, medical records that identify the licensed physician or the physician extender and supervising physician by name and professional title who is or are responsible for rendering, ordering, supervising, or billing for each diagnostic or treatment procedure and that justify the course of treatment of the patient, including, but not limited to, patient histories; examination results; test results; records of drugs prescribed, dispensed, or administered; and reports of consultations and hospitalizations......

(q) Prescribing, dispensing, administering, mixing, or otherwise preparing a legend drug, including any controlled substance, other than in the course of the physician’s professional practice. For the purposes of this paragraph, it shall be legally presumed that prescribing, dispensing, administering, mixing, or otherwise preparing legend drugs, including all controlled substances, inappropriately or in excessive or inappropriate quantities is not in the best interest of the patient and is not in the course of the physician’s professional practice, without regard to his or her intent.

Kindly rate positively if no further questions.

Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.

Hi- just checking in to see if you needed clarification on any of the above information. If so please post here (there is no additional charge for this) and I will do my best to get you the requested information.

Thank you!