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Prescription Painkillers Becoming Popular Target Among Thieves

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Clearly, the friendly neighborhood pharmacy has become a more risky business. Pharmacies have security cameras. They make sure they have good contact with police, and the News On 6’s Steve Berg reports now, they have a new system to keep track of the painkillers that are most popular with criminals.

Kathy Campbell has been in the pharmacy business for 15 years. And it's not like it was.

"I think the prescription drugs, the market for them on the black market, has escalated," said Campbell.

Of course there has been drug abuse as long as there have been drugs, but she says the kinds of drugs have changed.

"There weren't as many big narcotic drugs out there,” said Campbell. “These are some of the newer drugs and some of the higher levels of painkiller."

The drugs of choice, far and away she says, are OxyContin and hydrocodone. In February, the state set up a computer network called OStar for pharmacists to track the sale of controlled narcotics.

"There's toxic levels of all these drugs, and if you see somebody getting a large amount frequently, and if they were actually taking those things for their own treatment, it could cause damage. So that would be a real easy red flag," Campbell said.

She says it's also been an effective deterrent against unethical doctors, who sell prescriptions.

"One of the things they're monitoring is not just who's getting what, but who's prescribing what," said Campbell.

Campbell's own pharmacy was recently burglarized. She says the thieves sorted through the inventory to find the OxyContin and hydrocodone, as well as morphine, leaving the rest of the drugs behind.

To learn more about OxyContin, click here.

To learn more about Hydrocodone, click here.

Watch the video: Pharmacies Becoming Targets Of Thieves

WEB EXTRA: Extended Interview With Pharmacist Kathy Campbell
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