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what is doctor shopping?

What Is Doctor Shopping?

Despite targeted efforts to control it, the impacts of the opioid epidemic facing our nation have continued to escalate in recent years. Across the nation, millions of people have been touched in some way by opioid addiction and use. Whether it is a friend, family member, loved one, or community member, many people know someone who has struggled with an addiction to opioids, sought treatment for opioid addiction, or even someone who has lost their lives to overdose. Because of the widespread and pervasive nature of the opioid crisis, there has been renewed scrutiny of the medical community and doctors’ prescribing habits where opioid pain medications are concerned. According to a 2019 survey, as many as forty-six percent of people blame doctors for the current state of opioid addiction and misuse in the United States. Consequently, how primary care providers, surgeons, dentists, and other prescribers provide prescriptions to their patients has changed. 

 

What Is Doctor Shopping?

First, it is essential to note that doctor shopping is illegal. The term doctor shopping is used to define the process someone who struggles with addiction to opioids uses to obtain access to controlled substances from multiple health care providers without the prescribers’ knowledge of the other prescriptions. Put simply; it is the process of going from doctor to doctor to receive new prescriptions for the same drug, often filling them at different pharmacies, so your providers are unaware theirs is not the only prescription being provided to meet your needs. 

 

When someone engages in doctor shopping, they visit multiple doctors and provide false information to obtain multiple prescriptions. Depending on the drug they are seeking, they may lie about symptoms, omit information, purposely injure themselves, claim they lost previous prescriptions, deny receiving previous medications or commit other forms of fraud and deception to secure a prescription for opioid pain medications. The most common drugs sought out by doctor shoppers are typically narcotic medications such as Vicodin, Xanax, or oxycontin. 

 

People doctor shop for several reasons, including addictions to the drug they are taking and wanting to sell the drugs. Due to the opioid epidemic, prescription drugs such as the above are both in high demand and draw a high profit. Each day, more than two million Americans struggle with opioid abuse, and without treatment, hundreds of thousands lose their lives to addiction. 

 

Why Prescription Pill Addictions Are Dangerous

Prescription pain medications, when taken as prescribed, can successfully relieve pain. But, despite their benefits in pain mitigation, they are considered highly addictive. Prescription drugs work by attaching themselves to the opioid receptors on the brain and throughout the body. These are the receptors responsible for sending and receiving pain signals within the body. When someone uses a prescription, the pain they experience (whether chronic or otherwise) becomes manageable or even disappears entirely while the drug is active in the system. 

The problem is, as someone continues to take opioids, they eventually develop tolerance to the effects of the drug. Over time, they need to take more and more of the drug to continue to keep pain and discomfort at bay. This leads to the ongoing pursuit of these drugs, whether they still have an active prescription or seek to obtain them in other ways. As many as one in four patients who use prescription pain medications struggle with addiction. As tolerance and dependence develop, the risk for overdose increases. In 2018 approximately 47,000 Americas lost their lives to opioid overdose, and of those, 32% involved prescription pills obtained through legal prescriptions. 

 

The process of detoxing from prescription pain medications is not easy. It should only be done in a supervised setting like Concise Recovery where trained staff can provide support and guidance throughout the detox process. Someone who struggles with an addiction to opioids painkillers will experience withdrawal symptoms when they begin to detox from the effects of the drug. Depending on the severity and duration of your addiction, withdrawal effects can range from moderate to dangerous and potentially fatal. 

 

How to Get Help With a Prescription Pill Addiction

If you are one of the millions who struggle with a prescription pill addiction, do not wait another day to seek help.  At Concise Recovery, our skilled team of providers will provide the support and guidance you need to detox successfully from prescription pills and recover from opioid addiction. If you are ready to begin your journey to sobriety, contact Concise Recovery today. 

 

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