The Drug Of Choice For Pharmacy Crooks May Be Losing Its Luster

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 9, 2012 Updated Oct 9, 2012 at 7:01 PM EDT

INDIANA, (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Working to stay one step ahead of prescription drug thieves.

It’s a story about why crooks may see their appetite for the powerful painkiller Opana start to diminish.

The manufacturer of Opana is aware the company's product is being sought out by, not only people legitimately in need of pain relief, but also by pharmacy robbers looking for a mind blowing high.

A man, who walked into the Walgreen’s store at 6201 Stellhorn Road last week and held the place up, actually passed a note to the pharmacist demanding Methadone and Fentanyl, bucking a trend.

A July front-page article in “USA Today” featured a surveillance photo of a pharmacy robbery suspect, who robbed the Kroger Pharmacy on East State Boulevard back in February.

The article focused on how Fort Wayne had seen 11 pharmacy robberies in 2012 prior to June 2nd, and in most instances, the suspects demanded Opana.

That may be about to change.

The manufacturer of Opana in June completed its transition to a crush-resistant formula that is meant to curb abuse of the drug.

A company spokesman conceded the original formulation was subject to both intentional and inadvertent abuse and misuse.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller was in Fort Wayne last week to discuss creation of a new prescription drug abuse task force.

Zoeller mentioned how pharmaceutical companies are getting more serious about trying to make their products less attractive to hold up artists.

" Particularly their Oxycodones and some of the ones that have the highest rate of abuse, so that they are not as susceptible to some of the abuse. There's even national efforts that may be helpful in addressing some of this problem," Zoeller said.

Zoeller and Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan also spoke of a new fad among teenagers that is raising concerns about the risk of tragic drug overdose.

Kids have found a way to turn the prescription drugs you have at home into a sinister experiment for getting high with their friends.

They are known as pharm parties.

One of the messages from Dr. McMahan involved a plea to steer your kids clear of the dangers associated with this latest threat.

" Let them know that this is an issue, let them know you're concerned about it. I don't know if you've heard about these pharm parties, or skittle parties, where kids will bring medicine from their parents’ medicine chest. They throw them all in a bowl and then they just all take turns taking a handful. This happens in Fort Wayne too," McMahan said.

The prescription drug abuse task force is meeting to discuss, among other things, bills to bring before the 2013 session of the Indiana General Assembly to try and deal with the growing problem.

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