Just in this 5-month period, 382 US pharmacies reported armed robberies, according to data from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Here is a breakdown of the top 20 states for pharmacy robberies:
|Rank||State||# of Robberies|
In the first 5 months of 2015, Georgia (ranked No. 5) and South Carolina (ranked No. 8) have nearly surpassed their 2014 totals of 13 pharmacy robberies each.
These statistics do not include thefts by pharmacy employees, which is another growing problem in the industry.
Although a number of factors have contributed to the uptick in pharmacy robberies, many experts and industry professionals agree that the increase in prescription drug abuse and addiction across the United States is creating a demand for prescription medications that are obtained and resold illegally.
Typically, DEA experts say, robbers are after oxycodone, methadone, Valium, Percocet, Xanax, and other opiates. Many pharmacy robberies last only a few minutes and involve robbers handing a note to a pharmacy employee, giving them plenty of time to flee the scene before law enforcement officials can respond to calls for help.
There are many things pharmacists can do to keep themselves and their co-workers safe in the event of a robbery, experts say. But, the increasing threat of robberies is unnerving, adding pressure to an already stressful job.
With the frightening increase in pharmacy robberies, all pharmacy employees should be routinely trained on how to properly respond. Because pharmacy robberies are no longer considered isolated incidents confined to certain geographic areas, safety and security are the new names of the game.
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.