Substance Abuse and Pharmacy Robberies
We know that drugs beget violence, from the murderous drug cartels south of the border to the shoot-outs in U.S. neighborhoods. But the news in the last few weeks is mind-blowing. As if pill mills (which I wrote about in February) cropping up isn’t bad enough, now there’s a wave of pharmacy robberies across the U.S.
In Oakland, CA, the thieves took the store’s supply of narcotic cough medicine. On Long Island (New York), one man addicted to oxycodone allegedly shot two employees and two customers in a neighborhood drugstore in June, according to the Associated Press. His wife was arrested as well for driving the getaway car. She, too, is reportedly an addict. I’ve written that prescription pill abuse is on the rise. One statistic in the article was that the number of patients treated for pill overdoses in emergency rooms more than doubled from 2004 to 2008.
The AP article said that part of the problem is because it’s getting harder for addicts to get enough pills. Between the shuttering of Internet pharmacies and the advent of computer systems to prevent addicts from “doctor-shopping”, addicts are taking more drastic steps. Not long ago I heard someone suggest that pharmacies hire security to protect their customers and employees. It’s a shame that it has come to this.
A NY news station reported that the shooter’s wife made a deal with the authorities – for a lighter sentence if she testifies against her husband – and that the shooter has shown no remorse for his actions. I wonder if the shooter will feel sorry in a couple of weeks. This is a married couple in trouble. But as always, after thinking about the victims, my mind wandered to the substance abusers’ families –the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and others. Addiction never hurts just the addicted individual.