Prescribing a Controlled Substance to an Addict – California Health & Safety Code 11156
This usually comes about when a doctor or one of the doctor's employees prescribes some sort of a narcotic or controlled substance to a person that they know, or reasonably should know, is an addict and is only obtaining the drug because they are addicted versus that they actually need the drug for some sort of a legitimate medical purpose.
Sometimes it's a scenario where someone does something illegal or tricks the doctor or their staff in order to obtain these prescribed medications, or other times if the doctor is in on it or the staff is in on it and allows this person to abuse medication, in this circumstance, obviously not only would the person abusing the medication be subject to criminal prosecution, the doctor would as well or their staff or anybody that's involved with providing an addict with narcotics.
Loss of Medical License
This is a very serious offense. Many doctors who are charged with these type of violations — particularly Health & Safety Code Section 11156 — are potentially facing the loss of their medical license. There would be an administrative disciplinary hearing and the person would be facing a criminal charge and prosecutors and judges don't take kindly to medical professionals abusing their power and position of trust and taking advantage of somebody's an addict or not actually looking out for someone who is an addict. So, they would be very loathed to not punish that person with jail or prison time.
So, if you've got one of these cases and you're looking at criminal prosecution, sometimes there's more than meets the eye. Sometimes a person doesn't have all of the information that they should related to what happened.
Maybe the doctor was tricked or the person did something deceptive — stole something in order to obtain the prescription or the drugs which is not uncommon — especially when someone's addicted.
They're desperate and they will do all sorts of different things in trying to get drugs. Sometimes dragging the doctor or their medical staff into when they really didn't know.
So, it's one thing not to know or there's no evidence that you knew, but it's still another thing that the prosecutors can argue that you reasonably should have known the person was an addict and was only getting the prescribed medication because of an addiction versus some sort of a real medical reason.
Shopping Multiple Doctors to Obtain Prescription Drugs
That's going to lie upon whatever evidence is available to the prosecutors. Do you have medical records? You should have checked the computer system where you should see that this particular person should be prescribed any further medication.
Sometimes people are shopping to multiple doctors and so, if there's no tracking system to find that, then obviously, the doctor would potentially have a defense that they didn't know or reasonably shouldn't have known this person was an addict and was abusing the medication they were obtaining from that particular person.
So, a lot of these cases are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Common sense is going to be used and obviously, the individual involved — if they truly didn't know that the addict was getting prescriptions or drugs that they shouldn't have, then they would have a built-in defense.
This is why I always suggest do not speak with law enforcement about it. If you're contacted by law enforcement or you believe you're going to be contacted related to some sort of prescription fraud or some sort of an issue relating to providing narcotics to an addict, then you should definitely pick up the phone and make the call and speak to a drug crime attorney before anything.