Friday, 27 January 2012 00:00
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and District Attorney Kathleen Rice have announced that Nassau County’s Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Prevention Task Force will partner with InfraGard, an FBI public-private partnership, and the Long Island Pharmacy Crimes Task Force to offer a Pharmacist Security Summit on Feb. 7 from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m. at The Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage.
“Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions nationwide. In Nassau County, we have felt firsthand the devastating effects of prescription drug abuse and will therefore take the lead in addressing this epidemic by implementing safety, awareness and educational initiatives for the public as well as local pharmacists,” stated Mangano.
“The rise in prescription drug abuse and the increasing boldness of addicts searching for a new source of pills makes this security summit a must-attend event for every Nassau County pharmacy,” Rice said. “It is incumbent upon law enforcement to provide whatever training, advice, and support we can to pharmacists and their employees.”The Pharmacist Security Summit will feature representatives from the Nassau County Police Department and Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. Together, they will discuss their efforts and successes in apprehending and deterring addicts from burglarizing local pharmacies for prescription opiates. District Attorney Rice will also address pending prosecutions of doctors and pharmacists accused of illegally dispensing prescription drugs and of individuals filling illegal prescriptions. Additionally, a presentation will be delivered by representatives of Purdue Pharma, the makers of Oxycodone. In addition to the Feb. 7 summit, Purdue Pharma is offering a two hour closed door security training session for pharmacists on March 8 at the Morrelly Center.
Just days after the fatal pharmacy robbery in Seaford, Mangano mailed safety and security tips, along with a referral list for addicts seeking treatment, to pharmacists throughout Nassau County. He also announced the availability of 70 drug addiction treatment spots at the County’s Opioid Treatment Program. The Nassau County Police Department is currently working with schools, parent organizations, doctors, dentists and other professional prescribers to raise awareness of the potential dangers of these opiates. Law enforcement officials have created a list of vulnerable pharmacies in Nassau County and are tracking and arresting criminals guilty of drug diversion – from doctors who overprescribe to those who obtain the pills fraudulently and/or sell their own prescriptions.
Statistics indicate that three times as many residents have died from opiates than from heroin and while the number of heroin arrests has dropped significantly, opiate arrests have doubled. Furthermore, statistics indicate that there have been more than 200 pharmacy robberies throughout the nation in the past year and 7,000 such incidents since 2004.