How to Recognize Drug-Seeking Behaviors

Drug-seeking behavior is a term that is widely used to describe a person’s demanding and manipulative behavior to obtain medication. The type of medication that the drug-seeking person is trying to get is usually addictive or a controlled substance.

According to the Australian Prescriber:

Benzodiazepines and opioids are the two most common classes associated with drug-seeking behavior. Opioids commonly misused in Australia include oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, and morphine. Psychotropic drugs producing stimulant effects, euphoria, sedation, or hallucinatory effects are sometimes sought. These include the newer antipsychotics quetiapine and olanzapine, and stimulants such as dexamphetamine and methylphenidate. Anabolic steroids are also increasingly misused. (NIH)

With addiction and drug abuse rates in this country being at an all-time high, it is important to be able to recognize the signs that someone may be drug-seeking versus a person that is truly in need of medication like an opioid.

How to Recognize Drug-Seeking Behaviors


How to Recognize Drug-Seeking Behaviors?

There are several signs to look out for that may suggest a person is seeking out drugs. Here are some of those signs:

  • The person travels to a doctor’s office far from their home and possibly even across state lines.
  • An addicted individual has seen several different physicians in a rather short period. This is commonly called “Doctor shopping”“. – Doctor shopping is now illegal in every state and is a felony charge.
  • He or she has their medical records from years ago and carries them around to different prescribers trying to get prescriptions.
  • The person will state they have an allergy to any pain medications that are not controlled substances or any pain medication except for the particular one they are seeking.
  • The patients tell the doctor exactly what medication and dose they are wanting.
  • The person has no interest in any treatment to get the pain to stop, they only want medication.
  • An addicted individual will call the doctor’s office either before it is closing or right before a holiday or weekend requesting a prescription.
  • Someone lies about their medical history.
  • He or she will exaggerate their symptoms and put on an act in front of the doctor to get a prescription.
  • The person may act aggressively if they don’t get the medication, they are looking for or want.
  • The person gives false information regarding their identity.
  • An addicted individual is taking multiple controlled substances.
  • The person complains about lost or stolen prescriptions.

How Do Patients Forge the Prescriptions?

Due to the opioid epidemic, a lot of doctor’s offices and hospitals have put policies into place to try to reduce some of these drug-seeking behaviors. Most offices will not call in any prescriptions that are controlled substances now; the patient must see the doctor get a prescription. Also, a lot of doctors’ offices require their patients to use the same pharmacy for all of their medications, and the pharmacy is typically kept on file. Another policy you will now commonly see is that most physician’s offices will not call in any medications over the weekend or on holidays.

Sometimes it’s not easy to recognize drug-seeking behaviors while other times it can be blatantly obvious. It’s important to never accuse someone of drug-seeking. If a person is exhibiting these behaviors, they need help more than anything.

Stop Drug Seeking Behaviors in Your Loved One’s Actions

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