Rogue pharmacists fuel addiction
Dec 25, 2012
It was the same for Naythan Kenney, Matt Stavron and Joseph Gomez.
They needed a pharmacist willing to dispense the drugs, and at Pacifica they found one.
All four died of drug overdoses after filling prescriptions at the tiny pharmacy in Huntington Beach, Calif., court and coroners’ records show.
Pacifica’s owner, Thang Q. “Frank” Tran, sold pain medications in large quantities. Particularly popular with his customers were high-dose, 80-milligram tablets of OxyContin. Tran filled nearly twice as many of those prescriptions as did nearby Walgreens, CVS and Sav-On pharmacies combined, according to state records.
Many of his customers traveled long distances and paid cash. Rovero drove more than 350 miles from Arizona State University in Tempe to get his prescriptions in Rowland Heights and then 33 more miles to the pharmacy.
“I thought to myself, ‘Why in the world would these kids go that much farther out of their way?’ ” said April Rovero, whose son was 21 when he died. “Someone must have told them to go there.”
Pharmacists are supposed to be a last line of defense against misuse of prescription medications. By law, they are required to scrutinize prescriptions, size up customers and refuse to dispense a drug when they suspect the patient has no medical need for it.
Some, however, provide massive amounts of painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs to addicts and dealers with no questions asked, according to state records, regulators and law enforcement officials.
Rogue pharmacists are key enablers of drug abuse and an important source of supply for the illegal market.
I've heard of this happening, before. I guess that one must consider all figures, even those in a position of authority, when investigating drug deals. There are actually cases in which pharmacists can REFUSE to give patients prescriptions, for example, if it goes against the personal beliefs of the pharmacists. Often, these prescriptions are for contraceptives. So we have pharmacists giving medication that they aren't supposed to be giving, and pharmacists who aren't giving the medication that they are supposed to be giving. Apparently, depending on the state, the latter isn't always illegal. Should it always be illegal, though? Feel free to comment.