Crime and Pharmacy

I have been visiting this topic over and over... both on the internet searching around, in the local paper which shouts of a 40-something year old woman who is robbing local pharmacies (with a gun), memories from my own past of being held up at gunpoint, and discussing with a retail pharmacist this past weekend in regards to how unsafe it is. (HERE at least). An article quoted in full:

Local Pharmacies React To Rise In Crime As Demand For Certain Prescription Drugs Escalates

In light of the recent shooting pharmacies are on high alert.

The shooting that took place Sunday morning at Haven Drugs in Medford has caused many local pharmacists to focus on the alarming statistics that crime in pharmacies across the region is skyrocketing, as the demand for certain prescription drugs, namely strong opiate painkillers, is increasing.

Michael Hushin, owner and manager of Lakeland Pharmacy in Ronkonkoma said he has already been robbed at gunpoint about a year and a half ago. He now has controlled substances locked away, has obtained a pistol permit and keeps a baseball bat behind the counter.

The armed robber had come to Lakeland Pharmacy for 80mg Oxycodone.

"The biggest strength they make. It's the major score right off the bat," said Hushin.

He was alarmed about the recent shooting which seemed to fly in the face of all reason.

"This particular case was extremely different, there was absolutely no provocation. I don't even know how you protect against that," Hushin said.

When Lakeland Pharmacy was robbed, a man handed over a note, and then came behind the counter. Hushin said, "He was armed. He wanted one thing; and we tried to give him what he wanted."

Store customer, Jessica Greig, 18, said, "I'm going into the medical field. I would never work in a pharmacy now."

She is also more on guard as a customer.

"If I saw someone sketchy, I would definitely run out of the store," Greig said.

According to Hushin, some stores are considering not stocking certain medications.

"I don't know if I'd go that far. It's not fair to the people who need the medicines," he said.

Hushin said this is the second or third death of a pharmacist that he knows of occurring in the last six months, in the New York area.

"They were all robberies. Some of them very brazen, all related to pharmacy theft for opiates."

Slater Pharmacy's pharmacist Martin Robinson said that while they have never experienced a hold-up in their store, he was still shaken up.

"People don't realize that just by going to work each day your life is in danger," he said. "We're dealing with very desperate people."

The store has some basic precautionary measures in place such as surveillance cameras, asking customers to remove hats and sunglasses, and is considering not stocking certain medications.

"It's hard to be helpful, and deny people at the same time," Robinson said.

"My husband gave me a kiss goodbye because he knew I was coming to the drugstore," said Debbie Breithaupt, a longtime customer of Slater Pharmacy. "It hit home. It's just another place they made us feel unsafe."

Rick Ammirati, owner of Friendly Drugs, said he hasn't experienced any increase in criminal activity, or heard of anything unusual in the area. He does, however, have friends in the industry that have had robberies.

"It just puts you on high alert to take a second look at everybody that comes in now," said Ammirati. "It's heightened awareness."

 

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There IS a rise in pharmacy crime. It IS riskier to be a retail pharmacist today than thirty years ago.

Pharmacy Drive-thru and the Demise of Professionalism

News of the Weird