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How to Tell if a Loved One is Doctor Shopping

How to Tell if a Loved One is Doctor Shopping

Doctors and medical professionals often prescribe strong medications like opiates and benzos to treat a variety of mental health or physical health problems.

The goal is to help patients live healthy and happy lives, but individuals with an active prescription pill addiction may take advantage of doctors by doctor shopping. Here’s how to see signs of doctor shopping and how to help a loved one if they’re abusing prescription drugs.

What Is Doctor Shopping?

  Doctor shopping is a term used to define the action of visiting multiple doctors or healthcare professionals while lying about your prescribed medications in attempts to get more prescription pills. People who engage in doctor shopping may be addicted to benzos, opiates, or stimulants. Going to a doctor for a second opinion and being truthful about any current medications is not doctor shopping. Instead, this act is one that is centered on obtaining more of a prescription medication and hinges on dishonesty with each physician seen.

What Are Signs of Doctor Shopping?

  If your loved one is struggling with a medical condition and visiting a doctor often, you may fear that they’re doctor shopping. But there are specific signs and symptoms of doctor shopping to keep an eye out for. Signs of doctor shopping include:

  • Visiting the doctor more frequently than normal and without reasonable explanation
  • Filling a high number of scripts at the pharmacy
  • Filling scripts at multiple pharmacies
  • Claiming to have lost a medication, or that the medication was stolen
  • Visiting a doctor outside of their county of residence
  • Paying for doctor’s appointments with cash

Massachusetts Doctor Shopping Laws

  Doctor shopping laws exist in all 50 states that make the act illegal. The Uniform Narcotic Drug Act of 1932 and the Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1970 make it illegal to obtain narcotic drugs by deception or “concealment of a material fact”, such as refusing to disclose prescriptions from one doctor to another doctor. 1 Recent 2016 laws in Massachusetts also aim to make doctor shopping more difficult with online monitoring systems for drug prescriptions.2

What to Do If a Loved One Is Doctor Shopping

  Doctor shopping is a sign that your loved one is struggling with addiction to prescription pills and needs help. Without addiction treatment, their addictions may worsen. We can help with intervention planning in Massachusetts so you can get your loved one the help they need for sobriety.

It’s time to put an end to doctor shopping, call 888-280-4763 to learn more about our intervention programs and treatment paths at Banyan Treatment Centers Massachusetts.


  1. CDC – Doctor Shopping Laws
  2. Boston Globe – ‘Doctor shopping’ is going to get more difficult
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
How to Tell if a Loved One is Doctor Shopping
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