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Greenwich Pharmacies Worry Over Rising Drug Thefts

Pharmacies in Greenwich have a right to worry with the nationwide rise in prescription drug robberies. "It's a concern because it happens all the time," said Susana Daniaroff of Greenwich Pharmacy. "They want narcotics, and they're not in their right state of mind when they're doing it."

More than 1,800 pharmacy robberies have occurred over the last three years around the nation, according to an article published in The New York Times. The drugs most commonly stolen are Vicodin, OxyContin and Xanax.

Greenwich has seen its share of pharmacy robberies. In September, a man from New Rochelle, N.Y., was charged after allegedly threatening two pharmacists with a knife at Greenview Pharmacy in Byram and demanding prescription narcotics. John Pastore was arrested on charges of first-degree robbery and third-degree larceny later that month.

In late January, a man confronted the pharmacist at the CVS in Riverside with a knife and demanded prescription narcotics. Cos Cob resident Patrick Marr was charged with first-degree robbery in that crime.

Greenwich Police Department spokesman Lt. Kraig Gray said patrol divisions have heightened awareness of recent robberies but cannot be everywhere at once. "I'm positive it will happen again. If I knew how to stop crime in the future, I would be king of the world," he said. "But if someone is threatening your life over a product —comply, it just makes sense."

At the CVS Pharmacy on Greenwich Avenue, assistant manager Daniel Janis said he's not as nervous because the store is not open 24 hours. And precautions have been taken. "Drugs like OxyContin are secured in a safe behind the pharmacy counter," said Janis. "We also have a camera system that feeds into our corporate offices and could be accessed after the fact."

Most of all, said Janis, each employee is trained to not be a hero.

"We stress that if someone comes in armed and threatening for narcotics, just give them what they want and the police will deal with them," said Janis. "Life is too important."

Daniaroff's husband Demitri said the pharmacy would not discontinue availability of prescription narcotics. "When you go to a doctor and you have a toothache you need to relieve that pain," he said. "It's meant for people who are in pain."

Be part of the conversation: What do you think about the prescription drug robberies at pharmacies? Do you think they can be prevented?

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