Fraud is the misrepresentation of oneself or one’s personal information for some type of personal gain–generally financial gain. Insurance fraud, bank fraud, and Medicare fraud are each types of fraud that are perpetrated for financial gain. However, another growing type of fraud in Oklahoma is prescription drug fraud. Prescription fraud may be carried out for profit as corrupt physicians sell prescriptions or as individuals sell illegally obtained prescriptions, but it may also be carried out by those suffering from addiction in an effort to obtain drugs for personal use.
What is prescription fraud? Prescription fraud refers to prescribing or obtaining prescription drugs that are not medically necessary. There are several ways in which prescriptions fraud may be perpetrated:
- Using a stolen physician’s prescription pad
- Altering a legitimate prescription in order to receive an increased quantity of a prescribed drug
- Forging prescriptions
- Calling in one’s own prescriptions and providing a personal number for callback information
- “Doctor shopping,” or visiting several doctors to receive prescriptions unbeknownst to the other physician
Furthermore, an unscrupulous physician may sell unneeded prescriptions to “patients” looking to sell or abuse the prescription drugs.
Prescription fraud in Oklahoma is a serious concern. Some studies show that 2-4% of the national population abuses prescription drugs. The drugs most commonly purchased or abused in prescription fraud cases include Vicodin, Valium, Xanax, Oxycontin, and morphine. Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium, are often used legally to treat anxiety and also work as sedatives and muscle relaxers. Oxycontin, Vicodin, and morphine are powerful and highly addictive painkillers.
Prescription fraud is a felony drug crime in Oklahoma and may be charged as a Federal offense. Health care providers who illegally provide prescriptions may not only face jail time and fines, but they are likely to lose their licenses to practice medicine and receive sanctions by the American Medical Association.
The Oklahoma Anti-Drug Diversion Act implemented the Oklahoma Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), overseen by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, in an effort to combat prescription drug abuse and prescription fraud.
If you are accused of involvement in prescription fraud, it is important that you contact an experienced Oklahoma criminal lawyer as soon as possible to help with your defense. Your attorney can thoroughly evaluate your case for the best defense strategy, whether that entails negotiating a reduced charge or sentence, defending your innocence, or challenging police procedure to demonstrate illegal search and seizure.
For more information about prescription fraud defense, call today to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma City.