When you think of drug crimes, you may picture dealers lurking in alleyways. You may not think of doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Yet the National Institutes of Health reports that one of America’s most serious drug issues is prescription drug abuse.
According to the NIH, one reason for rampant misuse of prescription drugs is that they are easy to obtain and use. Prescription fraud is one way to get drugs. Here is what you should know.
What is it?
Obtaining prescription painkillers, depressants and opioids under false pretenses may constitute prescription fraud. Patients may steal prescription pads or access a physician’s computer to forge prescriptions. They may get one prescription filled at multiple pharmacies or alter the quantity of pills ordered.
Doctors may over-prescribe medications or falsely state a patient’s need for the substances. Doctors, nurses or pharmacists may get sloppy with record-keeping and lose track of how many pills a patient has requested.
How can I avoid or prevent it?
If you are a patient, be cautious when using potentially addictive substances such as painkillers, stimulants or sedatives. If you believe you are in danger of becoming dependent ask your physician for alternatives.
If you are a doctor, keep careful tabs on prescription pads and make sure to update the security on your computers. When patients ask for multiple refills of opioids, encourage them to explore drug-free methods of pain management.
What if police charge me?
Individuals suspected of prescription fraud face serious consequences. Medical professionals may lose their good reputations or compromise their careers. You can aim for acquittal, reduced charges or sentences that do not involve prison or loss of credentials.
Prescription fraud is a serious offense. If charged, you need a strong defense.