County woman charged under ‘doctor shopping’ law

Published 9:23 am Thursday, September 29, 2016

Crystal Peterson

Crystal Peterson

A Carter County woman faces multiple charges of prescription fraud after police said she visited several doctors over a short period of time to get prescriptions for narcotics.
Carter County Sheriff’s Office Deputy David Tranbarger arrested Crystal Peterson, 28, of 288 Rock House Road, Johnson City, on Tuesday evening on a warrants charging her with five counts of obtaining narcotics by fraud.
The charges against Peterson stem from an investigation by the Elizabethton Police Department that began last year. On Nov. 4, 2015, officers of the EPD responded to a local medical practice in reference to a patient who had possibly attempted to obtain narcotics using fraudulent means.
A healthcare provider at the medical practice told officers Peterson came to the practice requesting refill prescriptions for Xanax, Lortab and Lyrica — all three of which are scheduled controlled narcotics. The provider told officers Peterson said her primary doctor was out of town and she needed the refills.
The provider said she checked Peterson’s prescription history and learned Peterson had received prescriptions for and obtained medications on at least eight occasions within the prior month and as a result the provider denied Peterson’s request for refills.
EPD Investigator Todd Hamm, who obtained the warrants charging Peterson, said he obtained records from the doctor’s offices listed on Peterson’s prescription history.
“The report revealed that beginning in August 2015 and continuing until November 2015, Ms. Peterson received prescriptions for Alprazolam (Xanax) on several occasions within a 30 day period from different doctor’s offices and pharmacies located within Elizabethton/Carter County violating the prescription drug fraud law defined in (state law) which deals with ‘doctor shopping,’” Hamm said.
According to court documents, during the period of time from July 28 through November 2, Peterson obtained prescriptions for a total of 285 pills of Xanax from three different medical practices on several different dates.
Under Tennessee state law in TCA 53-11-402 “It is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to deceive or fail to disclose to a physician, nurse practitioner, ancillary staff or other health care provider from whom the person obtains a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance that the person has received either the same controlled substance or a prescription for the same controlled substance or a controlled substance of similar therapeutic use or a prescription for a controlled substance of similar therapeutic use from another practitioner within the previous thirty (30) days.”

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