A week after four people were shot dead during a robbery at a Long Island pharmacy, Sen. Charles Schumer is pushing for new legislation to increase penalties for pharmacy theft and mandates better training for doctors before they prescribe Oxycotin, Vicodin and other opiate-based drugs.
The over-prescription and addiction to the drugs leads to their illegal use and sale, Schumer said, adding that it’s “becoming reminiscent of the crack epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s.” According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, pharmacy robberies jumped 81 percent between 2006 and 2010 across the country, he said.
Police say David Laffer, 33, stole 10,000 hydrocodone pills after he killed two employees and two customers at a Medford pharmacy last Sunday morning.
Schumer is co-sponsoring the legislation with Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).
They also recommend doubling prison sentences for prescription drug-related crimes from 10 to 20 years, and increasing sentences in pharmacy robberies.