Overprescribing has become a problem in the United States. This is when a doctor prescribes too much medication to a patient. It may mean that the prescription itself is for too many pills, or it may mean that the doctor continues to give the person new prescriptions when they no longer need them.
To a large degree, this has become an issue because of the opioid epidemic. People will get hooked on painkillers. These are prescription medications, so they cannot be legally purchased without a prescription. While there are those who will try to buy them on the street, this is excessively dangerous. Fentanyl often gets mixed with street drugs and can be fatal. So people will find doctors who will overprescribe the pills that they want to use recreationally.
Intent makes this a crime
The Supreme Court recently saw a case of overprescribing, and they set a precedent. Essentially, the doctor has to be doing this intentionally in order for it to be criminal activity. If the doctor knows that someone doesn’t need the prescription and writes it anyway, perhaps taking a kickback or getting some other benefit, then this is a criminal act.
But this gives doctors some level of protection. Perhaps the doctor really was just trying to help their patient and thought the prescription was necessary. It may turn out in the future that the doctor was wrong, but it is not a criminal act to be wrong. The doctor may have just made a mistake or overlooked important details. But they weren’t attempting to break the law, and that makes a big difference thanks to the Supreme Court ruling.
Those who are facing drug charges must be well aware of all of the legal options at their disposal.