Tag Archives: robberies

NYPD to use GPS ‘bait bottles’ to track illegal pill sales

The New York Police Department says it plans to use an innovative approach to combat the theft of painkillers by asking pharmacies to hide fake pill bottles fitted with GPS devices amid the legitimate supplies on their shelves, this article reports. The NYPD says the initiative was prompted by a rash of high-profile crimes associated with the thriving black market for oxycodone and other prescription drugs in recent years, including the slaying of four people on Long Island during a pharmacy holdup in 2011, the article says. Officers will ask roughly 6,000 pharmacists and 1,800 pharmacies in the New York City area to adopt use of the bottles, which can be tracked in the event of a robbery or theft.

The GPS devices will be provided by Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin – the most-abused medicine in the United States.

New York has suffered brutally at the hands of the prescription drug addiction epidemic, and experts say things have only gotten worse since the quadruple homicide at a Medford, N.Y. pharmacy in 2011. According to this article, there were 92 instances in Nassau in 2011 in which prescription opioids were linked to overdose deaths – a tally higher than either of the previous two years and more than triple the 2004 figure. Forty-five of those deaths happened after the Medford killings, the article says.

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In N.Y., pill addiction epidemic shows no signs of slowing

New York has suffered brutally at the hands of the prescription drug addiction epidemic, and experts say things have only gotten worse since last year’s quadruple homicide at a Medford, N.Y. pharmacy. According to this article, there were 92 instances in Nassau in 2011 in which prescription opioids were linked to overdose deaths – a tally higher than either of the previous two years and more than triple the 2004 figure. Forty-five of those deaths happened after the Medford killings, the article says.

Meanwhile, Suffolk had 177 such cases in 2011, the most ever recorded by the county medical examiner’s office; 80 of those deaths occurred after the murders, the article says.

Prescriptions for oxycodone in New York rose by 82 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to a recent report issued by the state’s attorney general. Almost 22.5 million prescriptions for all types of narcotic painkillers were written in the state in 2010, with an especially high quantity of prescriptions being written on Staten Island and in large areas of Suffolk County, the report says.

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In N.Y., Oxy prescriptions skyrocket: report

Prescriptions for oxycodone in New York rose by 82 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to a new report issued by the state’s attorney general. Almost 22.5 million prescriptions for all types of narcotic painkillers were written in the state in 2010, with an especially high quantity of prescriptions being written on Staten Island and in large areas of Suffolk County, the report says.

New York has suffered brutally at the hands of the prescription drug addiction epidemic. Earlier in January, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the DEA to share data collected on pharmaceutical and prescription drug theft with local law enforcement. That move came in the wake of the latest deadly pharmacy robbery on New Year’s Eve in Seaford, N.Y. and in the face of the quadruple homicide that occurred at a Medford, N.Y. pharmacy last year.

Read more about New York’s painkiller addiction troubles here and here.

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Lawmaker appeals to DEA in wake of pharmacy robberies

Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is calling for beefed up security measures in order to curb the growing number of pharmacy thefts by people desperate to get their hands on prescription painkillers like Oxycontin. The lawmaker wants the DEA to share data collected on pharmaceutical and prescription drug theft with local law enforcement, and has put forth a bill that would increase maximum sentences for pharmacy-related crimes to 20 years per offense. The move comes in the wake of the latest deadly pharmacy robbery on New Year’s Eve in Seaford, N.Y. and in the face of the quadruple homicide that occurred at a Medford, N.Y. pharmacy last year.

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Oxy robberies turning Del. pharmacies into ‘war zones’

There have been 99 robberies or attempted robberies of drugstores or their customers in Delaware since January 2009 by painkiller addicts, causing pharmacists in the state to question the safety of their profession, according to this article. The 23-year-old addict profiled in the story, Phil Maconi, is now serving a four-year sentence after pleading guilty to two such robberies, which he says he committed in a desperate attempt to ward off withdrawal symptoms. And the pharmacists involved in the heists say they now fear for their safety, the article says.

In a separate article, Maconi says many of the state’s pain management doctors are willing to prescribe vast amounts of powerful narcotics to anyone who walks in their door, with devastating consequences: prescription drug abuse in Delaware has killed someone, on average, every other day over the last two years, that article says. (For the perspective of physicians who specialize in treating chronic pain and have to decide whether their patients have a medical need for the drugs, go here.)

Read more about pharmacy robberies here.

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$4M prescription drug ring nabbed in Fla.

In an example of just how widespread and lucrative the illegal market for prescription drugs is, authorities in Florida have rounded up 41 of of 72 suspects in the second phase of an investigation known as “Operation No Appointment Necessary.” As a result of the probe, which began in 2010, detectives collected over 4,000 fraudulent prescriptions bearing the names of over 700 different suspects. Investigators estimate more than 400,000 oxycodone 30-milligram tablets were obtained by fraudulent means between October of 2009 and July 2010. A conservative “street value” of these pills is estimated to exceed $4 million, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. And that’s just a drop in the bucket, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Robert Alfonso told the St. Petersburg Times.

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OxyContin Activists: Amy Nicole Graves

Amy Nicole Graves of Nova Scotia, Canada lost her 21-year-old brother Josh to an accidental overdose of the prescription painkiller Dilaudid (hydromorphone) in March 2011. She has since become an outspoken activist against prescription drug addiction through her website “Get Prescription Drugs Off the Streets.” Oxy Watchdog asked Graves to share about her efforts to bring more education and awareness to the issue of pill abuse.

Watchdog: Tell us about your brother Josh and what happened to him.

Amy Graves: It’s interesting because growing up, Josh wasn’t the addict in my family, it was actually our other brother who struggled with an addiction to prescription drugs. At the time he died, Josh wasn’t having any problems in his life. He had just gotten a new car, he got a great job transfer [back to our home town], he was looking for a mortgage. He had only been home four weeks when he attended a party with dealer who had sold drugs to my other brother. Josh split a Dilaudid pill with him. He was already intoxicated, and because he wasn’t a regular user, he had no tolerance. The combination with alcohol slowed down his heart rate and he never woke up.

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Inside the mind of a pharmacy robber

Pharmacy robberies have become a huge problem as the prescription drug epidemic has spread, often with tragic consequences. This article takes us inside the mind of one OxyContin addict who took to robbing pharmacies to get the drugs his body had come to crave.

Read our prior coverage of pharmacy robberies here, or for the perspective of one pharmacist’s wife, go here.

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U.S. taking more Oxy, by force and prescription

Americans just can’t get enough OxyContin. Despite the skyrocketing number of prescriptions being written for the opioid painkiller, pharmacy robberies targeting the drug also increased in 2010. According to this article from the Washington Times, states from Oregon to Maine more than doubled their number of robberies last year, while the number of prescriptions increased by an even larger factor.

Read about New York’s growing number of prescriptions for drugs like OxyContin here.

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Purdue donates big bucks to find pharmacy robbers

Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, has fronted $2,500 to help solve a pharmacy robbery in Phoenix, Ariz., under its program RxPATROL, according to this article from Phoenix News Times. Three bandits made off with 62,000 Oxy pills, worth $175,000 on the street, in late January. Such cases are a reminder that while drug store robberies are an increasing epidemic, they’re also an opportunity for good PR.

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