On the one side is to need to make available drugs of varying nature to the patients, who require is, and on the other is the exercise of control measures to ensure that these patients do not abuse these drugs, or make it available to others for drug abuse. In a sense, physicians may well claim that their role in controlling or preventing drug abuse is limited to their exercising restraint in the prescribing the drugs. It is the pharmacists that need to ensure that these prescriptions are not abused. This argument of medical professionals only restates the importance of pharmacists in the control and prevention of prescription drug abuse.
Wesson and Smith (1990), define prescription drug abuse as “a nebulous construct whose common denominator is that medicinals manufactured by the pharmaceutic industry are being used in ways that were not intended by regulatory agencies and in ways that were not approved by the mainstream culture”. This, in essence, means that prescription drug abuses are made up of a mix of behaviours by the physician, patient and addict, with the pharmacists the active bystander of the process. Physicians for pecuniary benefits sell prescriptions for drugs to addicts, who purchase these drugs from pharmacies to foster their drug addiction. This is one side of the picture. On the other side, prescription drug abuse occurs, when patients with medical conditions misuse the drug or drugs prescribed for the conditions in behaviour that constitutes addiction (Wesson & Smith, 1999).
In the initial example, physicians blatantly misuse their privilege to provide prescriptions for drug abuse. Pharmacists also misuse their license to handle drugs to sell them for this purpose. In the second the role played by the professionals is subtle and seldom attracts attention, with the blame falling squarely on the patient. This is an everyday occurrence in American society but comes to light only when there is celebrity status associated with the abuser of prescription drugs, as was the case with abuse of prescription drugs in the death of reality TV star, Playboy Playmate, and former Guess model Anne Nicole Smith at the young age of thirty-nine. .