Frying pan to fire

Today the charge nurse approached me with an unusual question: “Did you prescribe ‘marinol‘ to a patient”?

me: No.  I’ve never written a prescription for it in my life.

Charge Nurse: “What is it, anyway?”

me: It’s THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.  Why?

CN: “There’s a parole officer on the phone, who says that one of their parolees tested positive for marijuana, but they have a prescription for marinol from you to explain it.”

me: Nope.  Not from me.


The prescription was faxed to us.  Yes, it’s written on one of our current Rx pads, yes my name is circled.  No, it’s not my hand writing or my signature, and the DEA number is way off (and doesn’t follow a basic convention every pharmacist would look for, and which I won’t give away here).

CN: “The parole officer wants something written out that this prescription wasn’t written by you.  They wanted it typed on letterhead, but I said we were a little busy for that.” 

me: (Again noting how our charge nurses are smart and save me a lot of work): Okay.  Handwritten note disclaiming the forged prescription goes off to the Parole Officer.


Now this parolee has two problems, at least: testing positive, and having a forged prescription for a Schedule III drug.


  1. I can understand why a pharmacist might not recognize every doc’s signature if you’re not in a really small town, but if the guy didn’t follow a basic prescribing convention, why in heaven’s name didn’t the pharmacist CALL to verify the prescription?

    I don’t know how common this is in other places, but my hospital has 2 different types of prescription pads. One is clearly marked NOT for narcotics. The other clearly marked for narcotics only. The second type is supposed to be stored in the narcotics cabinet and nowhere else.

  2. But you have to give the guy some credit for initiative, if nothing else. :)

  3. John J. Coupal says:

    Reminds me of the time when an attractive [am I allowed to say that?] 20-something lady hands me a script for 100 tablets of Valium 10 mg in my pharmacy. Warning bells went off in my head. I called the Doc, and he said that he never wrote the prescription. So, I called the police.

    It was a shock to see the officer handcuff her (behind her back!)and take her off.

    Docs: keep your prescription pads close to your heart.

  4. It should be noted by those who are unfamiliar with criminal activity involving drugs that many addicts have routes other than “buying from a pharmacy” to get their hands on something. And, it is not unheard of for a pharmacist, nurse, doctor, etc. to be involved in selling illicit prescription drugs.

    From the post, it was unclear whether the prescription provided was confiscated from the person or from a fulfilling pharmacy. That can make a difference.

    There are many, many variations on the way people get all kinds of things – including drugs.



  5. The prescription was only an excuse for the parole officer. I am sure that this fellow came by his marinol the old fashioned way.

  6. Was it perhaps a scam all along to get your signature?

  7. No, this was purely a way to try to cover the recreational THC use.