Entries in Addicts (2)


Pharmacies Targeted by Dealers, Addicts Desperate for Painkillers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In Phoenix, two men tied up pharmacy employees while another stole painkillers.

On New Year's Eve in 2011, an armed robber demanding Oxycontin and money at a Long Island, N.Y., pharmacy encountered an off-duty Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent and two police officers as he was leaving. He and the ATF agent were killed.

Law enforcement say that armed robbers looking for prescription drugs are turning some neighborhood pharmacies into danger zones.

At another Long Island pharmacy, an addict in search of drugs for his wife fatally shot four people, including a 17-year-old clerk days from her high school graduation, in June 2011. He then left with a backpack full of prescription painkillers. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Since 2006, there has been an 82-percent rise in pharmacy robberies -- from 385 in 2006 to 701 in 2011 -- and 3,535 pharmacies have been hit.

Police say the surge is being fueled by the nation's prescription drug abuse epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 14,800 prescription painkiller deaths.

Law enforcement says the robbers are typically drug dealers who know they can make huge profits -- up to $80 a pill -- on the street. But some of the thieves are simply desperate addicts.

In the summer of 2011, the bass player for the rock group Coheed and Cambria was accused of robbing a Massachusetts Walgreens pharmacy of Oxycontin. He allegedly threatened to detonate a bomb. He reportedly headed back to the band's concert venue with bottles of pills.

Bruce Goodarzi, a Rockville, Md., pharmacist, said the robbers who'd broken into his store twice in one month were after painkillers like Oxycontin or Vicodin.

"We're talking about thousands of the pills," he told ABC News. "They are going right to the drug cabinet."

Pharmacies are beefing up their security systems -- adding watchdogs and guards -- and also storing drugs in safes. Goodarzi said he built a steel cage to protect the painkillers.

Others are refusing to stock the medications or are getting guns to protect themselves in the hopes that potential criminals pass them by.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tiger Woods Effect: More Sex Addicts Seek Help

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- In the year since golfer Tiger Woods checked into a Mississippi sex rehabilitation clinic, the number of those seeking treatment for sex addiction has jumped by 50 percent, according to Robert Weiss, founding director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles, which opened in 1995.

An estimated five to six percent of all Americans admit to the addiction, most of them men.

The month after Woods went into rehab, the Sexual Recovery Institute began offering information sessions that have been drawing 35 to 50 people a week. Its website has had 13,000 hits in the last 30 days.

There has been disagreement in the scientific community over whether people can be addicted to sex in the same way as drugs or alcohol. Two characteristics of substance abuse are building up a tolerance over time and going through withdrawal when deprived. The American Psychiatric Association does not even include sex addiction in its Diagnostics Standards Manual IV, although it is under review for the next edition.

Sex addiction, like overeating and compulsive spending and gambling, is a process addiction -- a neurobiological arousal disorder that involves the interplay of the hormones serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline. Broadly defined by the Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, sex addiction is "any sexually related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones and one's work environment."

The compulsive behavior is triggered by anxiety, and continues in a vicious cycle of stress, release and then shame, which ignites the anxiety again. The roots often lie in childhood.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio