The Dark Side of the Community Pharmacist Profession

February 13, 2015

Pharmacists deal with a lot of drug addiction, legal and otherwise.

The Super Bowl did not go the way I wanted. I don’t know why you would pass on the 1-yard line with 1 of the best running backs in the NFL 3 feet away from glory, but the Seahawks did, and I didn’t get to see Tom Brady pout as I had hoped.

I’ve already erased that moment from my subconscious, but what is still in it is that Esurance commercial in which Bryan Cranston reprises his “Breaking Bad” role as Walter White, appearing as a meth cook, but in the setting of a community pharmacy.

Greg the pharmacist had a well-earned day off and in his place was “Sorta Greg,” resplendent in his hazmat suit and color-coordinated respirator. An unsuspecting patient rings the bell, and Sorta Greg pops up and dispenses something that the patient recognizes is not her prescription.

“It’s sorta your prescription,” Sorta Greg replies, convincing her to take it and run, and that she would thank him for it later.

My wife came in from the kitchen to see why I was laughing so hard. I actually rewound the feed, with the Super Bowl on, to show her. I laughed again. I have gone to YouTube numerous times just to watch it, and I still laugh just as hard. It always strikes me as funny when art imitates life.

Pharmacists deal with a lot of drug addiction, legal and otherwise. Heroin addicts shoot up in pharmacy parking lots using the “insulin syringes” they just bought. I wore out the knees of a new pair of khakis just by kneeling down to the narcotic safe too many times in 1 day.

In various stages of legality, our society is drug happy. Alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, hallucinogens, and I’m sure a few things I have never seen are consumed in abundance by humans worldwide.

I am in a profession where 1 Sorta Greg is too many, and there are more than that, I assure you. All too often, you see a pharmacist get arrested for drug peddling. Most notably in that department is Michael Kerokowski, who Hugo Selenski was recently convicted for strangling with zip-ties and whose remains were found alongside those of his girlfriend, Tammy Fasset, in Selenski’s yard.

It’s a scary thought when you realize that corruption in your business can get you killed. Backdoor drug dealing automatically puts you in a bad crowd. That level of licensure abuse has never crossed my mind, and I have very little sympathy toward pharmacists who get busted for backdoor dealing or knowingly filling illegitimate prescriptions. A part of me even feels that Mr. Kerokowski put himself in a position where he should have known that it could have ended the way it did.

I don’t think that those who created the Sorta Greg commercial meant for it to reach the populace the way it did me. I saw a comical presentation of a very dark side of my profession. I never feel like a drug dealer. Sorta.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, has already chosen his Halloween costume.