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Prescription drug addiction leads to robbery

A Wisconsin pharmacy was robbed on Sept. 17 for the second time in less than a year. Both robberies involved an armed individual demanding prescription drugs, including oxycodone, oxycontin and morphine. While it is known that drug addiction has long been at the root of a great many crimes, these robberies are symptomatic of a new development.

The perpetrators of this type of crime are frequently people who have become addicted to painkillers after having them prescribed legally for chronic pain relief. They are often unaware of how habit forming these medications can be, and they resort to criminal behavior once their legal prescriptions run out. Many of them also move from prescription painkillers to illegal drugs such as heroin because they are easier to obtain and less expensive.

Users of illegal drugs commit property crimes, such as burglary, in order to steal cash, or goods that can easily be exchanged for cash. However, prescription drug addicts will often go straight to the source of the drugs they seek. Handing a threatening note to a pharmacist and then showing them a concealed firearm is becoming familiar tactic law enforcement has seen.

Drug addiction is a medical condition that greatly affects the brain, and addicted individuals will often commit acts that they would normally consider wrong under normal circumstances. People who fall into addiction as a result of taking legally prescribed medication can still face severe penalties, including fines and jail time, if they resort to criminal activity in order to acquire drugs. A criminal defense attorney with experience in drug cases may be able to secure more lenient treatment for those accused of drug-related crimes. They may present mitigating factors to prosecutors, or challenge evidence, such as search warrants, that form part of the prosecution's case.

Source: GazetteXtra, "Documents: Prescription drug addictions lead to pharmacy robberies ", Nico Savidge, September 19, 2013

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