Police: Community health crisis may lead to more pharmacy robberies

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Police are gearing up for the possibility of more pharmacy robberies now that 5,000 pain clinic patients are without a doctor.  It all stems from Dr. William Hedrick closing his nine practices across the state.  Many located here in northeast Indiana.  Health Commissioner Dr. Deb McMahan is calling it a community health crisis.  That’s because the medical community is maxed out and cannot absorb 5,000 patients.  But, they say they’re doing their best.  All in hopes of saving lives and preventing some from turning to crime to get what they need.

“Any way we can get that person the help that they need is a step in the right direction,” FWPD Crisis Intervention Team Captain Kevin Hunter said.

Captain Kevin Hunter with the Fort Wayne Police Department says their Crisis Intervention Team is prepared to make more runs.  It all starts with someone calling 911 and asking for help.

“These people are going to have behavioral issues because they are seeking these drugs to relieve their symptoms and as a result of that some of them might end up going into a crisis mode.”

That may mean them threatening to kill themselves or others or turning to drugs or crime to fill the void of empty pill bottles.

“People going to doctor’s offices and stealing those scripts then going to pharmacies to have those filled.  I also think that it’s a possibility that we could see an increase in pharmacy robberies for people who are so addicted that there is no other hope for them other than committing crime to get relief for their addiction.”

Reason being some don’t want to deal with going through withdrawal.

“It is the worst flu that you have ever felt in your entire life.  You have diarhea, nausea, vomiting, runny nose, runny eyes, aches and pains, you feel like you can’t get out of bed, headache, anxiety, increased heart rate.  It is a syndrome that could last for a couple of days,” Parkview Pallative Care Pharmacist Tracy Brooks explained.

Hunter says if you have a loved one or friend who was a patient and you’re worried they may turn to drugs, keep your eyes out for needles and drug paraphernalia used for injections.  Tuesday night at 5 and 6 we will explain what pharmacists are doing to protect themselves.

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