Every drug charge is serious, and that includes charges for obtaining controlled substances via fraudulent means—more commonly known as prescription fraud. Drug sentences in Tennessee and across the country are strict and they are harsh. If you’re charged with a drug crime, you need skilled representation and you need to be educated about your case.
Tennessee Rx fraud law
According to Tennessee statutes, it is unlawful for any person to:
- Obtain a controlled substance by misrepresenting that they are a medical practitioner who can prescribe medication when they are not in fact licensed.
- Manufacture or distribute a controlled substance using a stolen or fraudulent registration number, usually the DEA number.
- Acquire a controlled substance via the means of fraud, forgery, or deception.
- Obtain a controlled substance by misrepresenting or withholding information from one or more doctors or practitioners.
- Stealing a controlled substance from a pharmacy, hospital, or other facility that uses or distributes drugs.
Forms of prescription fraud
One common form of prescription fraud is called “doctor shopping.” This is when someone visits multiple physicians in an attempt to secure as many pills as they can. Doctor shopping used to be extremely common, but with the increased use of computer tracking systems, it’s getting more difficult. When a patient visits many doctors for prescriptions and doesn’t inform each physician of the other doctors they’ve visited, this raises the suspicion of police. Having multiple prescriptions for the same drug from multiple sources raises a lot of red flags.
A person also commits prescription fraud when they steal or forge a prescription pad. They can create a forged prescription by stealing a doctor’s DEA number. Or, they can have a valid and legal prescription but commit fraud by altering the prescription to get more drugs. This could also constitute insurance fraud, if the user has changed the quantity or time between fillings.
If an employee has access to drugs on the job, they can also commit prescription fraud via theft. Sometimes an employee at a hospital, pharmacy, veterinary office, or drug manufacturer might simply steal drugs from work and either use them for personal purposes or sell them.
Prescription fraud is almost always a felony offense. If you’re facing these charges, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to work on beating or reducing the charges against you. Many people commit crimes as a result of drug addiction, and need treatment. We can help.
If you are facing criminal drug charges, talk to the defense attorneys at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC in Sevierville as soon as possible. Call us at (865) 428-8780 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We proudly serve clients in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge.