On Tuesday, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly introduced the “Operation Safety Cap” while attending a conference in California sponsored by the foundation of former President Bill Clinton. This innovative police initiative is meant to reduce store robberies over painkiller bottles, by introducing “bait bottles” fitted with GPS tracking devices.
The NYPD plans to ask city pharmacies to stock painkiller bottles fitted with GPS devices among the stock of powerful painkillers like OxyContin and OxyCodone which are often targeted by those robbing pharmacy stores.
According to the release on the initiative, last year, NYPD investigators had seized at least 9,000 pain pill bottles being sold in an open-air drug market in Northern Manhattan.
Last week, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had announce that public hospitals in the city would start restricting emergency room patients to a maximum three-day supply of opioids. This has been done because a great number of addicts have been found to obtain pills from family and friends who had excess supplies from legitimate reasons and prescriptions.
During the conference, Kelly mentioned the case of a 33-year old military veteran, who had no prior criminal record, but fatally shot four persons while robbing a Long Island pharmacy in 2011. Kelly said, “The gunman in that case … was desperate to obtain prescription drugs to feed both his and his wife’s painkiller habit.”
Kelly also referred to members of the police force succumbing to prescription drug abuse. He said, “One of our own retired police officers who became addicted to the pills after incurring an injury on the job began robbing drug stores at gunpoint.”
Besides creating the program for GPS-fitted “bait bottles,” the NYPD has also created a database of the 6,000 pharmacies within the city for monitoring and helping to improve security measures. The NYPD believes that “bait bottles” would help track down stolen pain pills and aid in reducing prescription drug abuse.