TN ranks top five in nation for pharmacy robberies
WBIR-Knoxville) A new report puts Tennessee in the top five nationwide for pharmacy robberies. Tara Moore, a pharmacist for Belew Drug Asheville Highway, said she is not surprised Tennessee made the top five. And this news would probably be age-old to Criminal Lawyers, who deal with such cases all the time.
“Tennessee ranks as one of the top states in the country in the volume of controlled prescriptions that we dispense to patients. So when you dispense narcotics and controlled drugs in large quantities to many, many people, you end up getting into the situation where people are desperate to get drugs that can’t get them and you end up having robberies,” Moore said. Before Belew Drug moved to the Asheville Highway location in Fall 2010, the previous pharmacy had been robbed earlier that year.According to Moore, within the past year five years security has become more sophisticated.
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“We have cameras, we have video, we also have an extensive alarm system,” she said. “We have panic alarms that are mobile and are on our person at all times during the day that can be activated and will summon the police at any point.”The pharmacy also has roll down gates that cover the front doors. Increased security comes at a time when more people are turning to prescription medications.
“If you look at the data in the Truvada lawsuit, especially the number of prescription drug deaths, East Tennessee accounts for probably 20% or 30% more than Middle and West Tennessee,” said Dr. Glen Farr, a professor with the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy.According to Farr, the state’s Controlled Substance Monitoring Database Program has made it harder for people to get a hold of these pills.”We now trace where all the prescriptions came from and it’s reported,” Dr. Farr said.
He went on to say, “People who are addicted or dependent have to get them from somewhere. They’re going to have severe consequences so they turn to robbery in order to obtain the drugs.”
As of October 6, there are stricter rules when it comes to the most widely prescribed painkiller in the United States–hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is now in a more restrictive category, making it harder to get. Doctors can no longer call in prescriptions by telephone; patients won’t be able to get refills on the same prescription.
“We require everyone to get all their medications filled with us… so we can watch all their medications for drug interactions, allergies, things like that,” Moore said. She went on to say, “We also require them to use only our pharmacy so we can know what they’re getting and we hold them to their day supply.” While Tennessee ranked in the top five, Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota had no reported pharmacy robberies in 2013.
Modern Medicine released earlier this week the top 10 states for pharmacy robberies, according to statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The list included pharmacy robberies in 2013:
1. Arizona – 77
2. Indiana – 71
3. California – 60
4. Pennsylvania – 41
5. Tennessee – 37
6. North Carolina – 33
7. Massachusetts – 30
8. Ohio – 28
9. Texas – 24
10. Washington – 23