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Prescription Drug Crimes On the Rise in Michigan

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Ingham county safety officials are in the process of creating a new task force to deal with a growing number of crimes associated with prescription drugs. But we’re not talking about just illegal drugs–instead, more youth are turning to prescription drugs to get high and committing the crimes to get access to them.

Rob Mentink, liason to the task force, says he first started noticing the uptick in crimes around prescription drugs when reviewing recent arrests. Mentink says recent crimes include a larceny from a car in which a young offender stole 60 Vicodin pills, and another offender who made copies of her prescription for Oxycontin and brought it to eight different pharmacies. The young woman was able to accumulate 3,200 pills before getting caught.

Another recent news story exemplifies the rise in crimes around prescription drugs, when an individual attempted to rob a Walgreen’s in Grand Rapids in the early hours of the morning on May 8. A pharmaceutical employee, who was working at the time, attempted to shoot at the robber. Ultimately, the incident resulted in the pharmaceutical employee filing a lawsuit against the pharmacy after he was fired for shooting off his personal firearm to stop the robber.

With popular trends like "pharm parties"–or parties where young people put a bowl of prescription drugs on a table and drink alcohol while taking whichever pill they pick out of the mix–prescription drug addiction and associated crime is definitely something to be worried about. In addition, prescription pills can easily serve as the gateway to illegal street drugs like heroine.