Drugs change how people think and act. An addicted person will say and do things they otherwise wouldn’t. They may steal medication from people they know. They may doctor shop or commit pharmacy fraud. They may steal prescription pads, money, and other valuables. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, you may find yourself in unexpected personal or legal trouble. You may put yourself and others at risk.
Stealing Medication from Friends and Family
Many people get their drugs from friends or family members. They don’t always do so with their permission or even awareness. The National Neighborhood Watch shares, “Most incidents of prescription and OTC medication theft are committed by someone the victim knows well and who has unfettered access to the home. For example, more than three in five teens say prescription pain relievers are easy to get from the family medicine cabinet.” Stealing is a crime, no matter from whom you steal. Even if loved ones do not press charges, steal from friends and family leaves them without medications they may still need for serious health issues. It erodes trust and relationships that otherwise act as protective barriers against addiction or as motivation for treatment.
Some people take advantage of confidentiality laws or busy medical professionals and acquire drugs through doctor shopping. This is the practice of visiting multiple doctors for the same illness or injury or visiting multiple doctors and falsifying symptoms.
The Washington Post shares the story of one emergency room doctor who reports, “During a busy 12-hour shift…10 of the 30 emergency patients he sees receive a narcotic for pain.”
Individuals may abuse busy offices or emergency rooms. They can acquire multiple prescriptions for real or imagined concerns. This increases your or a loved one’s addiction and overdose risk.
Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) help limit this practice and encourage substance abuse treatment. The Washington Post reveals that when New York made PDMPs mandatory, “Doctor shopping, defined as a person obtaining controlled-substance prescriptions from five prescribers in one month, fell 76.4 percent in a year. Opioid prescribing dropped by 8.7 percent, and prescriptions for buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid dependence, rose 12.8 percent.” Limiting illegal or criminal behavior can encourage recovery.
Stealing Prescription Pads, Money, and More
Theft and addiction are closely related. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence shares, “Those with a drug use dependency are more likely to be arrested for acquisitive crimes such as burglary or shop theft, or for robbery and handling stolen goods — crimes often related to ‘feeding the habit.’ For example, in 2004, 17% of state prisoners and 18% of federal inmates said they committed their current offense to obtain money for drugs.”
While you may tell yourself you or a loved one would never steal from a pharmacy, doctor, or stranger, addiction can change your mind. You may find yourself facing serious legal consequences and potential prison time. Address substance use problems when they arise to avoid more and greater consequences.
Michael’s House helps individuals break the cycle of prescription drug addiction. The caring, expert staff understands how drugs impact how you think and act. We help you create positive change in your or a loved one’s life.
 https://www.nnw.org/publication/medication-theft-protecting-our-most-vulnerable-neighbors. “Medication Theft: Protecting Our Most Vulnerable Neighbors.” National Neighborhood Watch. Web. 3 May 2017.
 https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/new-state-rules-are-forcing-opioid-prescribers-to-confront-doctor-shopping/2017/01/14/21e02e88-d68d-11e6-b8b2-cb5164beba6b_story.html?utm_term=.89bfdcc4c8f5. “New state rules are forcing opioid prescribers to confront ‘doctor shopping.’” The Washington Post. 14 Jan 2017. Web. 3 May 2017.
 “Alcohol, Drugs, and Crime.” National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. 27 Jun 2015. Web. 3 May 2017.
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