What is Doctor Shopping in Florida?

As many Americans already know, “pill mills” are becoming a growing trend in America today. Doctors are prescribing addictive drugs at an alarming rate, resulting in many people becoming addicted to the very drugs they were once given to improve their health and quality of life. Unfortunately for those who become addicted, and even the “casual abusers” of prescription drugs, Florida has very strict laws when it comes to the possession and obtaining of these drugs.

Drug trafficking is governed under Florida Statute 893.135. There are several issues to be considered when it comes to trafficking crimes related to pills. First, it is important to note that the weight of the total drug is controlling, not the weight of the specific narcotic. In other words, if the drug is mixed with another drug in its pill form, the total weight of the pill is used by the State when determining what to charge the Defendant with. This can lead to hefty charges against someone who possesses very few pills. The weight of these pills also comes into play with regard to minimum mandatory sentences as well. Four to Fourteen grams carries a minimum 3 years imprisonment; fourteen to twenty-eight grams carries a minimum fifteen years imprisonment; and twenty-eight grams to thirty kilos carries a minimum fifteen years imprisonment. Please see our blog post on Florida Drug Trafficking laws for more info.

There is also another practice common to the abuse of these pills known as Doctor Shopping, governed under Florida Statute 893.13. This statute prohibits

8. To withhold information from a practitioner from whom the person seeks to obtain a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance that the person making the request has received a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance of like therapeutic use from another practitioner within the previous 30 days.

9. To acquire or obtain, or attempt to acquire or obtain, possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge.

Essentially, Doctor Shopping is a crime where an individual seeks medical treatment from multiple physicians, all of whom prescribe pain medication to that individual. The result is one person obtaining multiple prescriptions, which he or she would presumptively abuse or sell to pain medication abusers.

Doctor Shopping carries hefty penalties as well. If you or a loved one has been charged with Doctor Shopping or Drug Trafficking, contact an experienced Tampa criminal defense lawyer at Taracks & Associates today. We have three former Florida prosecutors on staff who know how to fight the State’s case against you and will fight for your rights. Act today – a consultation with one of our attorneys is always free of charge and it is important that you begin working on your defense immediately, as these crimes carry harsh penalties that could result in serious jail time.

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