Drugstore Robberies Target Oxycodone, Hydrocodone

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drug store holdups for oxycodone pillsThe next time you refill a drug and find your pharmacist behind an inch of glass, or the next time your pharmacist tells you he no longer carries your pain killer, have a little compassion. Thanks to the nation's thirst for morphine-derived painkillers like oxycodone (OxyContin, Tylox, Percodan) and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab), pharmacists are being held up at gunpoint with great regularity. According to the New York Times, more than 1,800 drugstore robberies have taken place in the past three years.

And robbery is only one way that criminals obtain these drugs. One of the most widely advertised (but seldom used) avenues for abusers to obtain the drug, via Internet orders, was cut off in 2008 with the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act. It mandated, among other steps to limit distribution, that the prescribing physician must have a face-to-face meeting with the patient.Other avenues to obtain the drugs, such as doctor shopping, altering prescriptions, calling in fake prescriptions, finding crooked doctors who will write scripts for cash and pharmacy hold-ups continue to fuel the market. Less than 5% of users bought them from a drug dealer. According to the DEA, the most popular dosage of oxycodone, 40 milligrams, sells for about $1 per milligram on the street.

The most common way of getting the drugs? Statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that over half of those 12 or older who abused the drugs obtained them for free from a friend or relative, and 80% of the time they were legally obtained from a doctor.

In other words, the prime source for these abused narcotics is the home medicine cabinet, medicine originally prescribed for those in a great deal of pain.

Running a pharmacy in today's climate involves more than the risk of a hold-up. too. CVS was recently fined $77.6 million for not regulating sales of a key ingredient in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. The chain failed to invoke the legal daily and monthly limitations on the purchase of products that contained pseudoephedrine.
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