'Dr Shopper' gets jail

TATTOOED tears mixed with the real thing when a convicted “doctor shopper” was sentenced to more jail time after pleading guilty to having 19 fraudulent prescriptions filled.

Brendan Lee Johnson faced 24 charges relating to fraud and possessing dangerous drugs.

The 22-year-old addict has been in custody since July after visiting doctors and chemists around the state to get his hands on prescription drug oxycontin.

Half of the offences were committed while he was on parole and on every occasion Johnson failed to tell the doctors or pharmacists that he had recently been prescribed the medication elsewhere.

His mother sobbed in the public gallery as the details of his past were read out.

The court heard Johnson, whose partner is pregnant with their second child, had been left with permanent brain injury after being seriously assaulted in 2002.

Defence Lawyer Kym Robotham said he had suffered memory loss ever since and had been further injured during a car crash in 2008.

She said he had developed an addiction to oxycontin while being treated for back pain.

She rejected prosecutor Sergeant Kath Stagoll's accusations that Johnson had gone “out of his way” to try to go undetected by travelling to doctors on the Fraser Coast, Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Ms Robotham said Johnson's travels were part of his “transient nature” and that he had simply “not recalled” his obligation to disclose information about his medical history.

But Magistrate Graeme Tatnell said he believed Johnson was “well aware” of his need to tell doctors and pharmacists if he had recently been prescribed oxycontin, a potent opiate related to morphine.

He told the heavily inked prisoner, who has a stream of teardrops tattooed under his left eye, that, while he accepted Johnson had sourced the drugs for his personal use, his behaviour had still been criminal.

He said doctor shopping was prevalent on the Fraser Coast and that he felt the need to impose a penalty that would act as a deterrent.

Mr Tatnell also told Johnson he had clearly caused his mother distress and if he planned to live with her post-release he needed to have a “serious think” about changing his life.

Johnson is currently serving a sentence for other offences which ends on December 4.

He was sentenced to a further six months starting from that date but will be eligible for parole in February.



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