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Second-Generation Pharmacist Peter Caldwell Fills a Vital Role with Patient Health Care

Fellowship Story Showcase

Second-Generation Pharmacist Peter Caldwell Fills a Vital Role with Patient Health Care

Picture of Bill Macfadyen

This article was written by Noozhawk Intern Daniel Langhorne as part of Day 5 in Noozhawk's 12-day, six-week special investigative series. Related links are below.

The Noozhawk's Prescription for Abuse series is a special project exploring the misuse and abuse of prescription medications in Santa Barbara County. Our series is a result of an exciting and unique partnership with USC's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which awarded Noozhawk a California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship to undertake this important work.

Through our reporting and presentation, we will establish an independent baseline of where our community is with respect to the misuse and abuse of prescription medications; how the problem is affecting health care, education, law enforcement, criminal justice, addiction and treatment, and our culture and society; what we as a community can do to educate ourselves about prevention and controls; and how we can perhaps reverse what appears to be a very troubling trend.

Noozhawk staff writers Lara Cooper and Giana Magnoli are the lead reporters on the project, and they've been assisted by managing editor Michelle Nelson; reporters Alex Kacik and Sonia Fernandez; interns Kristin Crosier, Jessica Ferguson, Tim Fucci, Kristen Gowdy, Jessica Haro, Daniel Langhorne, Alexa Shapiro, Sam Skopp, Erin Stone and Sarah Webb; photographers Garrett Geyer and Nick St.Oegger; content producer Cliff Redding; and Web development staffers Will Macfadyen and Edgar Oliveira.

Ashley Almada, Garrett Geyer, Hailey Sestak and Billy Spencer of the Santa Barbara Teen News Network filmed more than two dozen public-service videos featuring many of our story sources.

The project is sponsored by the Santa Barbara Foundation in partnership with KEYT, sbTNN and Zona Seca. The Annenberg School is assisted by the Renaissance Journalism Center at San Francisco State University.


Day One:

» Quiet Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse Taking a Toll on Santa Barbara County

» After Losing It All, Former Drug Addict Looking Forward to Renewed Life

» USC, California Endowment Unite to Support Health Journalism at the Source

» Bill Macfadyen: Prescription for Abuse Project Is a Series of Opportunities

Day Two:

» Local, National Statistics Reveal Alarming Jumps in Misuse and Abuse of Medications

» Marijuana Use Trends Higher, Especially Among Young Adults, Sparking Public Health Concerns

» Alcohol Plays a Role All Its Own in Setting the Stage for Local Abuse, Overdoses

Day Three:

» Understanding Addiction Key to Dealing With Prescription Drug Abuse

» Donna Genera Has Seen the Price and Perils of Drug Addiction from All Sides

» Rich Detty Bears Burden of Not Knowing Extent of Dead Son's Drug Use

Day Four:

» Escalation of Drug Overdose Deaths Includes Increased Presence of Prescription Medications

» Santa Barbara Teen News Network Adds Another Dimension to Prescription Drug Abuse Series

» Dr. Chris Lambert Sounds Warning on Mixing Prescription Drugs with Alcohol

Day Five:

» Local Oversight of Prescription Medications Is Far More Focused Than State, Federal Controls

» Elderly Are Particularly Vulnerable to Both Misuse and Abuse of Prescription Drugs

» Second-Generation Pharmacist Peter Caldwell Fills a Vital Role with Patient Health Care

Day Six:

» Early Education for Parents and Youth Emerges as Critical Tactic to Thwart Drug Use

» Student Highs Can Lead to Tragic Woes with Addiction's Hook Just One Fateful Step Away

» From an Early Age, Shereen Khatapoush Saw the Horrors of Substance Abuse

» As a Parent Herself, Prosecutor Von Nguyen Brings Empathy to Job in Juvenile Justice

Day Seven:

» Law Enforcement Fights Battle Against Prescription Drug Abuse from Outside and Inside

» Sheriff Bill Brown a Strong Supporter of Re-Entry, Drug Abuse Treatment Efforts

» Speaking from Experience, Zona Seca's Kevin Smith Keeps Drug Abusers on Road to Recovery

Day Eight:

» Prescription Drug System Is Rife with Loopholes, Fraud and Lack of Oversight

» For Clinical Psychologist Neil Rocklin, Addiction Education Can't Begin Soon Enough

Day Nine:

» Drug Abuse Treatment Programs, Expertise Are Plentiful on South Coast

» Dr. David Agnew Sees Pain as Pathway to Abuse But Cautions Against Overreaction

Day Ten:

» Awareness, Disposal Key Elements to Reversing Tide of Prescription Drug Abuse

» Dr. Joe Blum Keeps Focus on His Veteran Patients Despite Health-Care System's Restraints

Day Eleven:

» Operation Medicine Cabinet Gets the Drop on Prescription Drug Disposal

» Lacey Johnson Gives UCSB Students an Education in Dealing with Drug Abuse and Addiction

Day Twelve:

» Santa Barbara County Officials Look for Solutions in Battle Against Prescription Drug Abuse

» Noozhawk Journalists Recount Lessons Learned from Prescription Drug Abuse Series

» Annenberg Fellowships Take a Diverse Approach to Community Health Journalism

» Dr. Nancy Leffert Champions Antioch University's Role in Fight Against Substance Abuse

» Professionals Working in Addiction Field Often Share Roots at Antioch University Santa Barbara

Drugstores a key front in battle against prescription abuse, but regulations hinder effectiveness
Sunday, September 25, 2011

Name: Peter Caldwell Pharm.D.

Location: Santa Barbara

Occupation: Pharmacist

Pharmacist Peter Caldwell jokes that his career path was set as an infant when his parents used a prescription cabinet for his bassinet.

Caldwell‘s family has been in the pharmacy business since his father, Mike, married a young woman named Mary who worked the cash register at a pharmacy in Seattle during the 1940s.

Caldwell runs L.M. Caldwell Pharmacy with a sense of humor — a good trait to have, given the size of the health-care industry today from what it was when he took over the family business in 1977.

“Bureaucracy is the biggest consumer of health care at the moment,” he said.

Getting insurance companies out of the health-care business would be the best thing for everyone, Caldwell says.

It is luck that the Caldwells ended up in Santa Barbara.

Caldwell’s father was an avid golfer and grew tired of walking Seattle’s soggy courses after it rained. After hearing about a golfer’s paradise called La Jolla, he decided to move his family down the coast.

While visiting Santa Barbara on their way south, the family’s Buick broke down and they were stranded for a three-day weekend. They enjoyed the beach community so much that they never left.

Caldwell got his pharmacology degree at the University of Washington and passed his state board exam before serving as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Vietnam War.

He was stationed in an administrative post at a training and supply base in the Seattle area before returning to Santa Barbara.

Caldwell’s mother ran the pharmacy’s business and worked there until she was 90.

“This was my mother’s social life,” he said. “Here she had all this social activity all the time. She knew all the people, they knew her, and that’s really what kept her going all that time.”

With neither of his daughters interested in becoming pharmacists, Caldwell, 67, plans to keep working as long as he enjoys it.

Caldwell says misuse of prescription medications is becoming a major issue but pharmacists are now prevented by HIPAA privacy rules from notifying each other about forged prescriptions.

“It put a damper on our ability to do the things we want to do to protect the public and the providers,” he said.

Caldwell says the state of California also made a mistake by no longer selling standardized prescription pads to physicians. Today, he says he sees prescription pads in a variety of shapes and with different security features.

“We’re not cops,” Caldwell said. “We’re not supposed to be having to check the validity of every person who comes through the door, but we’re having to do that sort of thing.”

Noozhawk intern Daniel Langhorne can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.