Rising Number of Pharmacy Robberies Demands Increased Security

pharmacy bulletproofWhen compared to businesses such as banks, convenience stores or pawn shops, pharmacies seem like a less likely customer for bulletproof glass. However, with the rapidly increasing abuse of narcotic pain killers, the number of pharmacy hold-ups nationwide has dramatically increased.

Even the Salvation Army is not immune to such crime. In Stevens Point, Wisconsin Salvation Army recently installed bulletproof glass in both its front window and the medical dispensary. The Director of Operations cited a need to be proactive and to “make it safer for our staff to do their job” as motivation to make the necessary security upgrades.

Pain Clinics Become Narcotic Mills

Bullet resistant glass is a new and disconcerting issue for pharmacists most areas of the country, including Long Island, NY. However, in Florida a unique set of circumstances has created an entire industry focused on the abuse of prescription medication.

A combination of poor oversight and lax regulation quickly led to thinly veiled drug cartels dominating the strip-mall pain clinic industry, dispensing powerful prescription pain killers like Percocet and OxyContin. By 2010, Florida doctors were dispensing more narcotic-based pain killers than the rest of the United States, including nearly 89 percent of all of the doctor-prescribed oxycodone alone. Until 2011, even convicted felons could open “pill mill” pain clinics in Florida.

Increased Security Risks with Pharmacies

Cash operations dispensing valuable street drugs have little motivation to contact law enforcement, making Florida “pill mills” obvious targets for armed robbery. These facilities and routinely sought out bullet resistant glass installation as a regular part of “doing business.” Legitimate pharmacies, on the other hand, did not.

Florida started to crack down on “pill mills”in 2006, causing an upsurge in the attacks on legitimate Florida pharmacies. Since 2007 there have been more pharmacy robberies in Florida than in any other state. Today small pharmacies across the United States are finding themselves in need of bullet proof glass and a whole new kind of on-the-job vigilance.

Robbery Prevention: Pharmacy Installs Bullet Proof Barriers

In 2011, Total Security Solutions installed a bulletproof barrier at Trinity Pharmacy in Florida after a clerk was robbed at gunpoint and another intruder demanded narcotics while holding a blood-filled syringe. “We wanted bullet-resistant security top to bottom,” says Wagih Giris of Trinity Pharmacy, “but we didn’t want to lose the ability of our customers to easily talk with our pharmacists.” We worked with Giris to design a UL Level 1 bulletproof system that ensures easy customer-pharmacist communication via stainless steel voice portals in arched transaction windows, while lazy susan-type package passers allow the safe exchange of cash and purchases. We even installed the system overnight to minimize workplace interruptions. “[TSS was] very thorough. The quality, the finish and the final appearance were well beyond our expectations,” says Giris.

The growing number of prescription pill robberies nationwide, has created a stronger demand for increased security. Be proactive when it comes to the safety of your employees. Contact Total Security Solutions at 1.800.513.1468 to speak with an experienced sales member about your facility needs.

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