When there is a question about any aspect of the prescription order, the pharmacist should contact the prescriber for verification or clarification.
If at any time a pharmacist is in doubt, he /she should require proper identification. Although this procedure is not foolproof (identification papers can also be stolen/forged), it does increase the drug abuser’s risk. If a pharmacist believes the prescription is forged or altered, he/she should not dispense it and call the local police. If a pharmacist believes he/she has discovered a pattern of prescription abuse, he/she should contact the state Board of Pharmacy or the local DEA Diversion Field Office (Appendix K). Both DEA and state authorities consider retail-level diversion a priority issue.
Dispensing procedures without control and professional caution are an invitation to the drug abuser. Proper controls can be accomplished by following common sense, sound professional practice, and proper dispensing procedures. In addition, pharmacy staff should have knowledge of these safeguards, as it will help prevent and protect the pharmacy from becoming a source of diversion.
Most drug abusers seek out areas where communication and cooperation between health care professionals are minimal because it makes the drug abuser’s work easier. Thus, a pharmacist should encourage other local pharmacists and physicians to develop a working relationship which will promote teamwork and camaraderie. In addition, the pharmacist should become familiar with those controlled substances that are popular for abuse and resale on the streets in the area and should discuss those findings with other pharmacists and practitioners in the community.