A recent wave of violence involving pharmacies has captured the attention of New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who is now calling for a federal crackdown against prescription drug abuse.
The senator has announced that he is co-sponsoring a new legislation, along with Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, that will call for tougher penalties for pharmacy theft, as well as better training for doctors prior to issuing prescriptions for such opiate-based drugs as Oxycontin and Vicodin, as shared in a report on AM New York.
Sen. Schumer made the announcement a week after a massacre involving four people in a pharmacy in Long Island. WPIX.com reports that according to Suffolk County Police, suspect David Laffer had walked into Havens Drugs in Medford a little after 10 in the morning on June 19. Laffer opened fire, killing the pharmacist, a clerk, and two customers; he fled the pharmacy with a bag filled with 10,000 hydrocodone pills, and jumped into vehicle driven by his wife, Melinda Brady.
The couple was arrested three days later at their home, a mile and a half away from Havens Drugs.
Schumer linked the increase in armed robberies in pharmacies – which, according to data provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, has increased by 81% between 2006 and 2010 – to over-prescription of addictive drugs. Schumer commented: “Once they become crazed, as you say, and they need these drugs they do lots of bad things… We’re trying to stop them from getting to that stage.”
The senator also recommends the doubling of prison sentences for crimes related to prescription drugs.