New York City police plan to combat the theft of painkillers and other addictive prescription medicines by asking pharmacies around the city to hide fake pill bottles fitted with GPS devices amid the legitimate supplies on their shelves, according to an article from The Associated Press.
The NYPD believes that these “bait bottles” could help investigators track down stolen drugs and locate suspects, the article says. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is expected to unveil the plan Tuesday at a La Quinta, Calif., conference on health issues.
According to the article, prepared remarks provided in advance of Kelly’s appearance say that they initiative was prompted by a spate of high-profile crimes associated with the thriving black market for prescription drugs, including the slaying of four people on Long Island during a pharmacy holdup in 2011. Kelly’s statement also cites the case of a retired NYPD officer who, after retiring with an injury and getting hooked on painkillers, began robbing drug stores at gunpoint, the article says.
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,” the article reports.
The NYPD has started a database of the roughly 6,000 pharmacies in the New York City area with plans to have officers visit them and recommend additional security measures, such as better alarm systems and lighting of storage areas. Kelly says that the program would also ask them to stock the GPS bottles containing fake oxycodone, AP reports.
In the event of a robbery, the NYPD would be able to track the bottle – hopefully to stash locations across the city.
While there have been similar attempts to track prescription drugs on a limited basis, the NYPD claims this would be the first widespread effort, the article notes.