When is it illegal to fill a prescription for a controlled substance?
I have had the same family doctor who has been treating my chronic pain for 20 years. The pain is caused by multiple conditions including degenerative disc disease, arthritis, multiple herniated discs, sciatica, canal stenosis, and scoliosis to name a few. He has tried everything including physical therapy, water aerobics, chiropractic, steroid injections, and narcotic pain medication.
As the pain continued to increase over the years, I went from vicodin to percocet to oxycontin. When 20mg of oxy twice a day wasn't working, my family doctor sent me to a pain specialist. This was about six months ago.
Due to multiple other health conditions, I have been seeing my family doctor every month for the last 10-plus years. During our monthly appointments, we discussed my progress with the pain specialist. I told him that he had passed me off to his LPN and that they were unable to find a medication to control the pain. I told him the oxy was more effective than what they were prescribing.
Even though he knew I was being prescribed other narcotics by the pain specialist, he continued to write a prescription for the oxy every month. However, I never had the prescriptions filled for several reasons. Mainly, I knew my insurance would not cover two high-powered pain medications, and I wasn't about to pay $350 for the oxy.
In early November, I mentioned to the pain specialist's LPN that I was scheduled to have rectal surgery the first week of December. She told me that because I had been on some form of narcotics for the last 20 years, my body's tolerance for pain medication was so high that I would experience excruciating and unbearable pain after the rectal surgery. I asked for a couple of extra pills for post-op pain, and she refused.
Needless to say, I panicked. I dropped off one of the oxy prescriptions from my family doctor, just for peace of mind. My plan was to put the pills in the medicine cabinet and take them only what I needed to survive the post-surgery pain. The LPN scared the crap out of me. With the pain she promised me, I would not be able to get out bed, go to work, or take care of my kids.
When I went back to pick up the prescription, the pharmacist said my doctor told them not to fill it because I was already being treated by another physician for pain. Two days later, I received a letter from my family doctor and another from the pain specialist. Both of them had "terminated" me as their patient due to "illegal" behavior!
First of all, what is illegal about filling a valid prescription that was written for me by my family doctor of 20 years? It's not like I stole his prescription paid or forged his signature. This was a REAL prescription-the same one he had been writing every month for a year.
I called him to explain why I wanted to fill the prescription and faxed him the five other unfilled prescriptions to prove that I had not had any of them filled. I also asked him what I did that was illegal. To my shock, he refused to speak with me and said if I ever called his office again, he would call the police and have me arrested!
The whole situation is ridiculous. I could get into the whole issue of why he didn't just pick up the phone and call me instead of throwing me to the lions like a piece of meat. After 20 years, we had become friends. We had been to each other's homes. He wrote letters of recommendation extolling our virtues when we adopted our two kids.
The problem now is, with it being the holiday season, I could not find a new doctor to see me until December 23. I will run out of pain medication on December 15. Because I am in poor health, it is likely that the withdrawal symptoms I experience will actually cause me to die!
My question is as follows: Is it legal for me to fill one of the other five unfilled prescriptions my family doctor wrote for me? I am not receiving pain medication from any other source (the pain specialist terminated me, too).
I have heard horror stories about people being on some sort of "DEA" list and actually being arrested when they went to have a prescription filled. In my case, if I cannot fill one of these prescriptions, I will probably die between December 15 (when my pain medication is depleted) and December 23 (when I see my new doctor).