Doctor Shopping is Fueling Prescription Drug Abuse


Doctor shopping is a primary way people with addiction obtain prescription drugs for non-medical use. When a person visits several doctors to get a prescription for the same medication in different locations, it can be dangerous and punishable under the law. Learn more about the risks and dangers of doctor shopping.

Growing Trend

Addressing prescription drug abuse is no small feat, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). A growing problem with grave concerns, it primarily means people with addiction are trying to obtain medication for illegal use. This is considered an epidemic.

Illegal Activities

Some of the illegal activities associated with doctor shopping may include:

  • Forgery of prescriptions
  • Transfer of drugs to other people
  • Seeking out more than prescribed from variety of sources
  • Bribery

In many states, prescription drug monitoring programs are being introduced to tackle the ongoing situation. The programs are designed to allow physicians and pharmacists to cross-check prescriptions with one another and identify individuals who may be doctor shopping.

Abuse of Drugs

Prescription medication abuse often begins with a legitimate reason to use the drug in the first place. Due to this, people who otherwise would not abuse substances find addiction takes hold before anyone realizes a problem has begun. Doctor shopping begins to feed into the addiction which leads to rationalization of the behavior as necessary to manage the chronic pain and maintain a facade of being in control. Pain medication is prescribed for a variety of common reasons, including back pain, c-sections or even dental procedures. The high risk of drug abuse in these instances can lead people down a trail of doctor shopping to find enough medication to fuel addiction as tolerance builds over time and more medicine is required to feel the same effects. Therefore, chronic pain can flare up causing people to feel desperate for more medicine but also because of chemical changes in the brain which cause drug use to flourish.

Seeking Help

The role of family members and friends cannot be understated. An individual with addiction to painkillers and is doctor shopping needs an intervention by a loved one in order to seek help. Some may realize the behavioral patterns and seek to stop without help. However, it may be necessary to bring in reinforcements who notice the potential signs of abuse and offer to help the individual seek support through treatment, counseling and whatever means necessary before it causes irreparable damage.


The Villa provides help for individuals who are seeking to quit prescription drugs. If you or someone you know is addicted to painkillers, contact us to find out how we can help you find the necessary support to start the journey to recovery.