by: Ethan A. Huff
(NaturalNews) It used to be that thieves targeted wealthy homes filled with expensive things like jewelry to rob, but according to officials, a new kind of thief is on the loose: the pharmaceutical drug addict. They say prescription drugs like opiate painkillers are responsible for causing a widespread increase in crime against sick and elderly people whose medicine cabinets are loaded with legal narcotics.
"We're seeing people desperately and aggressively trying to get their hands on these pills," Janet T. Mills, the attorney general in Maine, is cited as saying in a recent New York Times piece. "Home invasions, robberies, assaults, homicides, thefts — all kinds of crimes are being linked to prescription drugs."
According to recent reports, a masked man forcibly entered the home of a 77-year-old Maine woman and proceeded to knock her to the ground, stealing her Oxycontin pills at knifepoint. And in Massachusetts, a similar event took place when three armed men broke into a home, tied up the owner's hands and feet with duct tape, and ravaged the home in search of Oxycontin.
Desperate addicts have even gone so far as to pose as potential home buyers at open houses, where they proceed to the nearest medicine cabinet to snatch whatever they can find.
"One will distract the realtor while the other goes and trifles through the medicine cabinet looking for pain medication," explained Matthew Murphy, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA's New England field division in Boston.
Officials are urging members of the public to properly dispose of any expired, unused or unneeded medicines as soon as possible to avoid becoming victims of pharmaceutical crimes.