Combating Prescription Medication Robberies with GPS Tracking “Bait Bottles”

23 Apr 2013

If it looks like Oxycontin and is labeled as Oxycontin, it must be Oxycontin, right? Wrong.

The New York City Police Department is cracking down on Oxycontin prescription medication theft by “baiting” pill bottles with GPS trackers.

There has been an increase in robberies of the prescription medication Oxycontin throughout New York City. Many of these robberies have become violent and the crime is growing at an alarming rate.

This includes the armed robbery of painkillers from a pharmacy in Medford in 2011 that resulted in four people being shot and killed during the robbery. David Laffer walked out of the pharmacy with thousands of painkiller and having killed four people. This is just one of many violent cases of prescription pill theft throughout NYC.

GPS Tracking Bait Bottles

In an effort to stop these types of crimes, bait bottles will be filled with placebo pills that look like Oxycontin and labeled as Oxycontin. The bottles will also have GPS trackers inside them that let the NYPD in New York City track down the thieves. The police department hopes to not only catch the thieves, but be led straight to the black market dealer selling the Oxycontin.

Oxycontin is the brand name for Oxycodone, a powerful painkiller. It has been nicknamed “hillbilly heroin” due to being abused primarily in rural areas, though its popularity is growing in other areas of New York as well. Oxycontin is extremely addicting, which further leads to the need for robbery and selling it on the black market. This only adds to the robberies of other prescription drugs like Vicodin and Percocet.

Prescription drug abuse “can serve as a gateway to criminal activities, especially among young people,” the commissioner says. “When pills become too expensive, addicts are known to resort to cheaper drugs such as heroin and cocaine. They turn to crime to support their habit.”

Investigators working for the New York Police Department apprehended 9,000 stolen pills in a drug market located in upper Manhattan. This is only a fraction of what is stolen each year. Hopefully with the new GPS tracking initiative, more drugs can be seized throughout the city.

“In the event of a robbery or theft, we’ll be able to track the bottle, which may lead us to stash locations across the city,” he says.

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, is aware of the drug abuse problem in his state and has already made steps to remedy it. He recently announced that painkillers used in emergency rooms will be limited, as many drug abusers are faking high levels of pain in order to get these prescription painkillers. Emergency room patients will get no more than 3 days’ worth of prescription painkillers. The new plan to track stolen pill bottles from pharmacies in New York City, is in addition to other methods of reducing the drug problem.

In addition, approximately 6,000 pharmacies in NYC will introduce a program that tracks prescription drugs and warns youth of the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

Similarly, pharmacies around the country, like this one in Philadelphia, are successfully nabbing pill snatchers.

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