Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is calling for increased protection for pharmacists and pharmacies.
Schumer said there have been about 1,800 pharmacy robberies in the past three years, and he blames the robberies on the increased ability to obtain highly addictive pain medications like Oxycontin. In a letter to the DEA, says UPI.com, he is calling for increased security infrastructure at pharmacies, local access to DEA data on pharmacy thefts and an increase in the maximum sentences for pharmacy related crimes–up to 20 years per offense, according to UPI.
“The guidelines and regulations issued by the DEA to pharmacists do not meet the challenges faced by 21st century pharmacies and do not fully protect pharmacists from the awful violence prescription drug addicts are willing to inflict in order to steal schedule II narcotics and should be updated to reflect this frightening new reality,” Schumer wrote in the letter to the agency.
"Therefore, I request that the DEA work with pharmacies to promulgate new guidelines to help encourage and create better security strategies as a deterrent to would-be thieves," he said in the letter. "As evidence that these strategies work, Washington state, after time sensitive safes and staggered inventories were introduced at many drug stores, saw pharmacy robberies drop in half from 2008 to 2010."