If you suffer an injury or have a surgical procedure, chances are your doctor prescribed a pain medication. The more serious your situation, the more powerful the pain killer you may need. An experienced doctor knows what to prescribe, the dose, how often you should take it and for how long. Your prescription may allow you to request a refill if the pain persists, or you may have to contact your doctor to request additional pills.

Everyone is different, but your doctor knows that at a certain point in your recovery, your pain should decrease so that you can function without the use of powerful narcotic drugs. He or she may refuse to refill your prescription or recommend that you use an over-the-counter pain medication. What you do next can affect the rest of your life.

What is doctor shopping?

While some may take their doctors’ advice and switch to a safer method of pain management, others look for a different doctor who will continue to prescribe the opioid. In fact, it is becoming more common for patients to seek several doctors who will prescribe addictive medication at the same time. Authorities refer to this as doctor shopping or double doctoring. Opioids are among the most common drugs for which patients may doctor shop. Others include psychotropic drugs, anti-depressants, tranquilizers and stimulants like Ritalin.

Doctor shopping is a crime for which there are severe penalties for the patient who double doctors, the prescribing physicians and the pharmacists, whether they participate unknowingly or willingly. It is becoming more difficult to double doctor since the implementation of statewide databases monitor the distribution of addictive medicines. However, only about 50 percent of Colorado doctors include their patients in the database.

Reach out for help

Doctor shopping makes medical professionals suspicious of those who may legitimately need pain management because those who undertake this method of obtaining drugs often lie to their doctors or exaggerate their symptoms. A doctor or pharmacist may suspect you of doctor shopping if you are persistent in asking for opioids or you fill numerous prescriptions from several different doctors. Authorities may suspect that you either have an addiction or you are selling the drugs. If they suspect the latter, you may face additional serious drug charges.

Nevertheless, if you are facing drug charges related to multiple prescriptions or the possession of numerous kinds of medications, you have reason for concern. You would be wise to seek the kind of help you need, both for your personal and legal issues.