Top 10 states for pharmacy robberies

October 7, 2014

Arizona led the nation with 77 pharmacy robberies in 2013, according to statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Overall, pharmacy robberies nationwide dipped slightly from 745 in 2012 to 713 last year.

Arizona led the nation with 77 pharmacy robberies in 2013, according to statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Overall, pharmacy robberies nationwide dipped slightly from 745 in 2012 to 713 last year.

Arizona took over the top spot from Indiana. Arizona’s pharmacy robberies jumped from 65 in 2012 to 77 last year. Indiana, which saw a huge decline in pharmacy robberies from 104 in 2013 to 71 last year, had the second-highest total of pharmacy robberies in 2013.

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“The robberies [in Arizona] tend to be a little more violent in nature,” said Ken Fagerman, RPh, MM, author of Staring Down the Barrel:A Pharmacists’ Guide to Diversion and Coping with Robbery (AuthorHouse). “From the stories I’ve heard, they are very polished.”

 

Fagerman, whose book outlines strategies for curbing pharmacy robberies, said pain clinics and pill mills drive the problem in Indiana and many other states. “The root cause of this is the doctors who are writing these prescriptions. That’s where the DEA’s focus needs to be.”

California is third on the list. The Golden State saw its pharmacy robberies increase from 36 in 2012 to 60 in 2013.  California was followed by Pennsylvania (41), Tennessee (37), North Carolina (33), and Massachusetts (30). Rounding out the Top 10 were Ohio (28), Texas (24), and Washington (23).

In 2013, pharmacy robberies were practically nonexistent in many states. South Dakota, North Dakota, and Alaska recorded no pharmacy robberies.  Utah, Montana, Mississippi, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia each had one reported pharmacy robbery. Nevada, Louisiana, Illinois, and Delaware each reported two pharmacy robberies.

To prevent or reduce pharmacy robberies, Fagerman suggests active partnerships with local law enforcement officials, silent alarms, and outdoor security cameras. He also said pharmacy employees have to become better witnesses, by providing descriptions of suspects, weapons, cars, and the direction in which suspects flee.

 

Fagerman said the “cavalier attitude” of the many of the chain pharmacies must also change.  “The attitude of many the chains is ‘just give ‘em the drugs and get back to work,” he said.

Fagerman said he spoke to one customer who was in line behind a person who robbed the pharmacy. “[The customer] didn’t know there had been a robbery until the police showed up,” Fagerman said.