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Prescription Fraud Defense Attorney in West Covina

Legal Representation for Those Accused of “Doctor Shopping”

Prescription fraud is often the result of “doctor shopping,” or the practice of making appointments with multiple physicians to obtain prescriptions for the same drug. All 50 states have some form of a fraud statute concerning prescription drugs and pain management substance abuse. In California—1 of only 20 states with a law on the books regarding prescription fraud—no person may obtain or attempt to obtain drugs by fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, per Health & Safety Code 11173.

Opioids and Prescription Fraud

By far, the most commonly sought-out prescription drugs in the United States are opioids. While these drugs do have therapeutic benefits for intense pain relief, opioids cause more drug overdoses than any other type of drug. In fact, opioid use is now more dangerous than car accidents. These drugs are highly addictive because they cause an unnatural amount of dopamine and endorphins to enter the bloodstream, which make the person feel euphoric or “high.” With continued use, the same effect is harder to achieve without increasing the dosage, setting the stage for an addiction and causing many users to resort to desperate measures when seeking out more of the drug.

The most commonly abused opioid prescription drugs include:

  • Morphine
  • Vicodin
  • OxyContin
  • Percocet
  • Fentanyl
  • Dilaudid
  • Codeine
  • Methadone

Other commonly abused drugs include benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety) medication such as Xanax, hypnotic (sleeping pill) drugs such as Ambien, anxiolytic (sedatives) such as Valium, and amphetamine (stimulant) drugs such as Adderall.

Examples of Prescription Fraud

  • Example 1: A man addicted to morphine goes to the local emergency room with the intent of obtaining more pills to get his fix. He complains of back pain, claiming it’s from an old work injury, so the staff administers morphine in an IV at the hospital. However, what they don’t know is that this man brought fake identification to the emergency room and identified himself under a false name, hoping physicians wouldn’t catch on and stop giving him the drug, or worse, report him.
  • Example 2: A woman previously addicted to heroin (an extremely potent and illegal synthetic type of morphine, which is also an opioid) gave up the drug when she became pregnant. After experiencing a particularly painful C-section during her delivery, she was prescribed Vicodin to recover. She finds herself once again addicted, and visits her doctor to falsely claim of continued pain; however, the skeptical doctor refuses to write a refill. Despite the fact that her attempts were unsuccessful, the woman could still be accused of prescription fraud for attempting to procure an opioid through deceit.
  • Example 3: A woman addicted to Xanax takes an authorized to the pharmacy after altering the prescription label and changing the number from “10” pills to “40.” She could be found guilty of fraud for doing so.

Penalties for Prescription Fraud

Those arrested for prescription fraud may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony at the discretion of the prosecutor. While misdemeanor prescription fraud is punishable by up to 1 year in county jail, a felony crime can carry a potential jail sentence of 16 months to 3 years.

Legal Defenses for Prescription Fraud

You likely feel overwhelmed after being arrested for prescription fraud. What will it entail for your future? Will you be labeled a drug addict? Can you get out of jail and go to drug rehab instead? A skilled prescription fraud defense lawyer can help you fight the charges. Remember, being charged doesn’t mean you will certainly be convicted.

Our law firm has successfully helped clients fight HS 11173 violations with these legal defenses:

  • Lack of intent: Prescription fraud entails you misrepresented yourself and your circumstances to obtain more of the same drug. If you did not have this intent, your charges could be dropped, or you could be found not guilty.
  • Entrapment: The definition of entrapment in California is when a “normally law-abiding person” is induced to commit a crime they otherwise would not have. If we can prove that you were coerced or otherwise tricked into activity classified as prescription fraud, we may be able to release you of your charges.

Charged with Doctor Shopping? Contact a West Covina Prescription Fraud Attorney.

Don’t leave your future to the hands of fate. Contact our prescription fraud lawyer in West Covina to start formulating a solid defense strategy. As in any criminal matter, it is best to contact a defense attorney as soon as possible to have a professional in your corner who can formulate an effective strategy for your case.

Charged with prescription fraud, doctor shopping, or another form of pain management substance abuse? Contact Coimbra Law Firm, APC today at (626) 827-7222 for a free consultation.

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