Crimes against Pharmacies are rising

Posted on: February 7, 2011

Where do you go if you are addicted to drugs? Besides a drug dealer, drug addicts are now stealing from pharmacies. These pharmacies can be a stand-alone pharmacy or a pharmacy in a grocery store. These thieves don’t care where they steal the drugs as long as they can have their fix.

More than 1,800 pharmacy robberies have taken place nationally over the last three year. The typical thief is young men seeking opioid painkillers and other drugs to sell or feed their own addictions. The most common targets are oxycodone (the main ingredient in OxyContin), hydrocodone (the main ingredient in Vicodin) and Xanax. All of these drugs are highly addictive painkiller that many pharmacies “used” to carry. Because of the high crime rate against pharmacies for this drug many pharmacies are no longer stocking OxyContin.  .

These thieves are so desperate for the drug that they threaten killing pharmacists if they don’t get the drugs. As a result, pharmacies have installed hidden cameras, hired armed guards 24/7, and affixed a tracking device to each bottle of OcyContin that lets police easily track a thief after a robbery. In addition other pharmacies have installed bulletproof glass and counters high enough to keep would-be robbers from jumping them, giving these pharmacies the aesthetic of an urban liquor store.

Florida, Indiana, California, Ohio and Washington have had the most armed robberies of pharmacies since January 2008, according to the D.E.A. But Maine, Oklahoma and Oregon had the sharpest increases last year. All but a handful of the Maine robberies took place at Rite Aid and CVS stores, some of which were hit multiple times.


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