In an impassioned plea, the family of one of the Medford pharmacy victims Thursday urged legislators, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry to do more to curb rampant prescription drug abuse.
The call for action, voiced outside a Lake Ronkonkoma funeral home, came just hours after David Laffer, 33, of Medford, was arraigned on murder charges in the quadruple slaying in the drugstore.
Laffer stole more than 10,000 pills of hydrocodone, a synthetic opiate used in Vicodin, a police source said.
"The widespread proliferation of prescription painkiller abuse is fast becoming a national tragedy," Ray Malone said in a statement read outside Moloney's Lake Funeral Home & Cremation Center.
"It's already a tragedy to us. It must be, and it can be, stopped or at least significantly curtailed if we all do our part," said Malone, whose brother James had once been married to victim Jaime Taccetta, whose private wake was being held inside.
The statement urged people to pressure legislators to enact laws curbing prescription drug abuse; called on doctors to think hard before prescribing such medications, and implored pharmacies to stop selling the highly addictive pills.
The plea drew praise from one substance abuse agency, but caution from a doctor.
The prescription opiate crisis hasn't been "dealt with in a serious way, and now we are seeing the collateral damage," said Jeffrey Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
However, Dr. Ron Kanner, chairman of neurology for North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, said that while prescription painkillers are widely abused, they serve a useful medical purpose.