New York to use GPS-fitted bottles to track stolen pain pills

NEW YORK Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:06pm IST

Pharmacists in Jordan-based Hikma Pharmaceuticals package generic versions of Ciprofloxacin hydrochloride 750 mg which will be exported to the U.S. and Western markets in Amman February 8, 2011. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji/Files

Pharmacists in Jordan-based Hikma Pharmaceuticals package generic versions of Ciprofloxacin hydrochloride 750 mg which will be exported to the U.S. and Western markets in Amman February 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Ali Jarekji/Files

Related Topics

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York police will begin asking city pharmacies to stock decoy bottles fitted with GPS devices among powerful painkillers like Oxycontin and oxycodone in the latest bid to combat gunpoint robberies of drug stores.

Police hope that in the event of a robbery, the 'bait bottles', which will be labeled as painkillers but filled with harmless placebos, will lead them back to large stocks of stolen prescription drugs.

Last year, federal and New York Police Department investigators seized 9,000 painkillers being sold at an open-air drug market in northern Manhattan.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is expected to unveil the new initiative, called 'Operation Safety Cap,' at a conference in California on Tuesday sponsored by former president Bill Clinton's foundation. An advance copy of his prepared remarks was released late Monday.

The initiative follows last week's announcement by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg that the city's public hospitals will begin restricting emergency room patients to a three-day supply of opioid painkillers to limit abuse - since most addicts get their pills from family and friends who have leftover supplies from legitimate prescriptions, experts say.

Oxycontin is a long-acting form of the opioid oxycodone, a highly-addictive prescription drug.

The NYPD's initiative is a response to a growing black market of stolen prescription painkillers.

In 2011, a 33-year-old military veteran with no prior criminal record fatally shot four people while robbing a Long Island pharmacy of about 10,000 pain pills.

"The gunman in that case ... was desperate to obtain prescription drugs to feed both his and his wife's painkiller habit," said Kelly in a prepared statement to be delivered later Tuesday.

Even the police force itself has been haunted by prescription drug abuse.

"One of our own retired police officers who became addicted to the pills after incurring an injury on the job began robbing drug stores at gunpoint," Kelly said in the statement.

In addition to the 'bait bottle' program, New York police have created a database of the 6,000 pharmacies in the New York City area, many of which police plan to visit to recommend improved security measures.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Nick Zieminski)

FILED UNDER:

Sony Cyber Attack

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ten Years On

Ten Years On

10 years on, tsunami warning stumbles at the "last mile".  Full Article 

Exit Polls

Exit Polls

BJP unlikely to form Jammu & Kashmir govt - polls.  Full Article 

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Hopeful Dhoni

Hopeful Dhoni

India's new vintage nearly ready, says Dhoni.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Ali Hospitalized

Ali Hospitalized

Boxing great Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage