Pharmacy burglaries spike in La.
BATON ROUGE - The president of the Louisiana Independent Pharmacy Association said he's concerned with a sharp increase in pharmacy burglaries over the past two years.
It comes on the heels of five pharmacy recent pharmacy break-ins. Pharmacists said the pills stolen had a street value exceeding $200,000.
Pictures of holes in exterior walls show how thieves gained access to the "N&T" Pharmacy off of Florida Boulevard last month. A few weeks later, a supplier's car was burglarized as he unloaded prescriptions into the "Affordable Pharmacy" on South Foster Drive. Over the weekend crooks also cleaned out "Chris' Pharmacy" in Port Vincent, stealing nearly $150,000 in pills.
"Because pharmacists are working so hard to keep those drugs off the streets for illegitimate means, folks are resorting to theft, burglary and damaging their property to obtain these drugs," said Randl Johnson, president of LIPA.
He attributed the sharp increase in pharmacy burglaries to more prescription monitoring, making it harder for drug addicts to get their fix.
"We see people that are literally breaking into these stores, not going into windows or doors but breaking down walls to enter a pharmacy to take these prescriptions," Johnson said.
News 2 requested an interview with the Executive Director of the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. Malcolm Broussard declined our request for an interview, but did say he is concerned when pharmacies are burglarized. Broussard said the state sends out inspectors to make sure narcotics are secure.
Chris Williams knows about the problems all too well, after thieves targeted his pharmacy.
"Unfortunately we're in a business where thieves want what we have," Williams said.
State Police Lieutenant J.B. Slaton is also aware of the issues. Illegal prescription drugs keep narcotics detectives busy.
"Abuse of prescription narcotics is a big problem," Slaton said. "Our narcotics agents as well as city police and the sheriff's offices around the state, we see a lot of it... it's a growing concern."
If you know anything about the pharmacy burglaries mentioned in this report, contact your local authorities.