Prescription pain medication abuse is increasing across the globe. In order to get a prescription for pain medication one would need to visit a licensed medical doctor with a legit medical reason. Most doctors try to write out the minimum amount of pills necessary for a patient's ailments. The problem is tolerance builds quickly in an opiate addict and the addict needs more and more pills to keep up with their addiction. What starts with one pill a day, can quickly build to multiple pills per day. The maximum prescription that many doctors will write is for 4 pills per day or a total of 120 per month. The problem is that some addicts quickly surpass the maximum usage and either need to buy more pills on the street or visit more doctors.
Doctor shopping is becoming a trend amongst opiate addicts. Doctor shopping is the act of going to multiple doctors with the intent to get multiple prescriptions for the same medication. After getting multiple prescriptions, the addicts will use different pharmacies to fill their orders. This act is becoming more and more prevalent with addicts, and dealers.
If a patient has an M.R.I. from a car accident they can in theory go to multiple doctors per month and each doctor would prescribe them the pain medication they desire for the pain they are experiencing. The major issue with this is that the United States does not have a national database by social security number that allows doctors to see what medications an individual is currently taking and how many prescriptions they have filled over a specific period of time.
With the economy hurting and the lack of jobs, a lot of people will take desperate measures to make money. To put this into perspective, one prescription of 120 pills of 30 mg (oxycodone) has a street value of around $2000-$2500. That is an average of $20-$30 per pill. Since addicts become dependent on the drugs, there is no shortage of buyers. Visiting 4 doctors in one month and receiving 4 prescriptions has a street value of about $10,000, which makes it highly lucrative for the doctor shoppers.
Doctor shopping is illegal, and governments on the state and federal level are working with pharmacies to build computer systems to help track patients prescriptions in order to stop people from getting multiple prescriptions of the same medications. The government is creating more laws to help curb the abuse of doctor shoppers as well as hold doctors accountable for writing too many prescriptions. The government is also creating laws that hold accountable individuals who sell their pain medications to others. If you give away or sell your pain medication to someone who overdoses you could be help accountable for that individuals death.
As opiate abuse grows, the market for the pills will also grow. It's important for doctors, pharmacies and the government to work together to build a system to help stop the abuse and curb doctor shopping in order to help keep excessive pills off of the black market, and to help save lives. If you or someone you know is addicted to pain killers, please seek professional treatment immediately.