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Pharmacy Security Summit Attracts Hundreds In Nassau County

Fears Rise To The Surface As Lawmakers Try To Come Up With Solutions
Pharmacy Security Summit - Bethpage, NY - Feb 7, 2012 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

Pharmacy Security Summit – Bethpage, NY – Feb 7, 2012 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

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BETHPAGE, NY (CBSNewYork) – After the massacre at a pharmacy in Medford, various robberies, and concerns of prescription drug abuse, hundreds gathered in Bethpage on Tuesday to discuss pharmacy security.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs On The Story

“We have a full-time guard here from when we open to when we close. At night we have a security dog in the building,” said Marc Wiener of Linden Care in Syosset.

“We are installing bullet-proof glass,” Linden Care’s Jordan Fogel told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.

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Sixteen security cameras and a police cruiser are part of Long Island drug store owner Douglas DeNardo’s safety plan.

“I have a pharmacy in a small village where they have their own police department. So, I have a police car parked in front of my store from opening until close,” DeNardo told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

DeNardo said the bottom line is the safety of his employees and customers, but he knows the cameras and police aren’t the real answers to the problem.

Pharmacy Security Summit - Bethpage, NY - Feb 7, 2012 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

Pharmacy Security Summit - Bethpage, NY - Feb 7, 2012 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

“You have to get people rehabilitated before anything is going to happen, because if you stop the supply of these drugs, it’s going to get worse, because then they’re going to get desperate, and then they’re going to come and rob you,” DeNardo said.

The pharmacy owners were among 200 others who attended the summit.

“These medications are no less addictive than heroine, cocaine or crack,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

It’s an epidemic that claimed four lives in Medford last Father’s Day and the life of ATF agent John Capano on New Year’s Eve. His sister attended the summit, as did the mother of Timothy Kroll, a teen who died after getting hooked on painkillers from a doctor.

“We went to him for migraine headaches, and he told us he could help Timothy with migraine headaches, and in four months Timothy was addicted to oxycodone,”  Kroll said.

“It’s the same concept as drug pushing. It’s just someone wearing a white coat,” Rice added.

Rice is pushing for a law that would require pharmacists and doctors to use a state database when writing and filling addictive pain killer prescriptions.

Congressman Peter King, who was also at the summit, said the problem is nationwide.

“This sort of snuck up on us, prescription drugs, and people thought was maybe a harmless type of abuse because these are legal. How bad can it be if it’s legal? The fact is they are deadly,” Rep. King said.

“None of it is easy. There’s no easy answer here. I think everyone coming together and trying to find a layer of plans, I think, is the best way to do it.”

Pharmacists were urged to call police if they suspect abuse.  Many said the way things are now, they’re afraid to go to work.

“I’ve been in this business for 40 years. I never thought it would come to something like this,” DeNardo said.

“You don’t know what time someone can walk in with a gun,” added pharmacist Saud Ansari.

Long Island pharmacists will be back here on March 8 for closed-door security training by Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin.

If you have a problem with drugs, you can contact Narcotics Anonymous in Nassau County at 516-827-9500 or visit www.nassauna.org.  Meetings are available seven days a week. Another resource is the Nassau Alliance for Addiction Services, which you can reach at 516-481-4000, or visit www.nassaualliance.org.

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