Where your medical care is concerned, you always have a right to get a second — or third — opinion. If your first doctor doesn’t seem to have their head in the game or their treatment plan doesn’t seem effective, you’re free to find another.
What you cannot do, however, is bounce from one doctor to the next in order to get multiple prescriptions for controlled substances, like painkillers, muscle relaxers and benzodiazepines.
How doctor shopping differs from seeking a second opinion
It’s all about transparency and purpose. If you go to a doctor for a second opinion about your condition, you would normally be up-front about why you are there. You should also make sure that every doctor you see knows exactly what you’ve already been prescribed.
When you purposely omit information about your previous treatment and prescriptions when you see a new physician, you’re lying by omission — and that’s actually a crime. In Louisiana, it’s punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
How will the authorities know what you’re doing?
You know that your medical privacy is scrupulously protected these days, so you may think that you’re on fairly safe ground if you just keep quiet and use different pharmacies to fill duplicate scripts — but you’re not.
The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy maintains a database that tracks all prescriptions for controlled substances. Since 2017, physicians have been required to check the database before issuing new prescriptions and every 90 days after. You may be able to slip one or two prescriptions through the cracks, but the record will eventually catch up — and catch you in the act.
Addiction is the driving force behind most doctor shopping. If your addiction has led to criminal charges, don’t hesitate to seek experienced legal assistance. Your future and your freedom may be on the line.