Pharmacies Finding New Ways to Beat OxyContin Robbers

With pharmacy robberies looming as an ever-present threat, some are coming up with innovative tactics for thwarting the crimes. Largely committed in pursuit of OxyContin, the robberies have been especially prevalent in Washington State and California.

If you can't beat 'em . . . trick 'em or stall 'em. That is what some pharmacies are doing in order to fight the insidious plague of robberies stemming from OxyContin abuse. Washington and California, in particular, are seeing pharmacy robberies in high doses, causing drugstore owners and pharmacists to employ techniques aimed at preventing the crimes.

One pharmacist, in a Santa Ana, California, CVS store, was wily enough to outsmart a robber. When Timothy Wade Voroshuck, 30, said he had a gun and demanded OxyContin earlier this month, the pharmacist refused to hand it over, according to reports. After a struggle with Voroshuck, the pharmacist gave in-sort of. Instead of giving the unknowing Voroshuck OxyContin, the crafty pharmacist gave him Tylenol.

Walgreens stores throughout Washington have reportedly installed time-delayed safes in which to store OxyContin behind their pharmacy counters, which will force robbers to wait around for the drugs they are demanding. The tactic is meant to discourage robbers by increasing their chances-and fears-of getting caught. Also, during the several minutes it takes to open the safes, security cameras will be rolling to help ensure that criminals are caught on tape and apprehended. Ideally, signs posted to inform potential robbers of the new safes, activated last month, will stop the robberies before they have a chance to begin.

Some pharmacies in California have also employed safes to store their stock of OxyContin. Pharmacies in Idaho took things a step further last year. Medicine Man pharmacies there stopped stocking OxyContin in their stores, instead creating a system that has patients giving a day's notice for pharmacy workers to pick up the drug from an offsite location.

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