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What is prescription drug fraud?

Your doctor gives you a prescription for a painkiller. He or she fails to list any refills. On the way to the pharmacy, you just scrawl in a number. You're going to get it renewed, anyway. Why not just save time? While you're at it, why not increase the dosage? You really could use something stronger than what you've been taking. What's the harm?

Well, for one thing, you or someone else could die of an overdose. You could also land in jail.

There are many different types of prescription drug fraud. With the epidemic of prescription drug abuse and fatal drug overdoses, lawmakers, police and prosecutors are taking it seriously.

Often these days, doctors send prescriptions electronically to pharmacies. However, in some cases, patients still walk out of a doctor's office carrying a good old-fashioned paper prescription. An alteration of this prescription can get you in serious legal trouble. Among the types of illegal alterations that people make to prescriptions are:

-- Changing the number of refills or quantity of pills

-- Changing the dosage

-- Adding another drug to the prescription or changing the type of drug listed

Of course, there are other types of prescription drug fraud, including:

-- Stealing or copying a prescription slip or pad

-- Forging a doctor's name

-- Impersonating someone in a medical office to call in a prescription

-- Doctor shopping

"Doctor shopping" is when people go to multiple medical facilities, including doctors' offices and hospitals, falsely claiming to have any number of ailments, often in order to get pain medication. Some people go so far as to hurt themselves in the hope of getting a prescription at an emergency care facility or emergency room.

If you or someone you love have been charged with illegally obtaining prescription drugs, it's essential to get sound legal advice from a Connecticut criminal defense attorney. The consequences for a conviction can be serious.

Source: Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, "Prescription Drug Fraud and Misuse," Julie Wartell and Nancy G. La Vigne, accessed April 29, 2016

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