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Tampa FHP Trooper Charged in Doctor Shopping Case

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper from Tampa was arrested this week and charged with three counts of withholding information from a practitioner. He is accused of “doctor shopping” to obtain prescription painkillers.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, trooper Ryan Evan Brescia is accused withholding information from two doctors on three occasions to get hydrocodone-acetaminophen. Allegedly, neither doctor was aware that the other physician had prescribed drugs to Brescia.

A department spokesperson said the incidents took place between February 2010 and March 2012.

Brescia turned himself in at the Hillsborough County Jail and was released on bond after being processed. The highway patrol has terminated his employment.

Brescia was hired as a trooper in 2003 and his most recent performance evaluation indicated he was a competent officer. The only negative note in the evaluation, according to media reports, is that he “failed to meet expectations with vehicle maintenance and radar re-calibrations.”

Last fall, the state of Florida launched the Electronic Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation (E-FORCSE) online database, purportedly to assist in efforts to cut down on prescription drug abuse and “doctor-shopping.” E-FORCSE tracks when, where, how much and how often prescription drugs are dispensed throughout Florida and enables physicians to request the prescription drug history of patients.

Pharmacists and other health professionals who prescribe narcotic-grade medication such as oxycodone are required to report such prescription information to the database. The other purpose of the E-FORCSE database, of course, is to track which doctors’ offices and clinics are prescribing high volumes of narcotics to large numbers of patients.

It is not yet clear whether E-FORCSE played a role in the Brescia investigation but it seems likely. Each of the three pending charges is a third-degree felony.

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