Butler County pharmacists: Opioid abuse making job ‘more dangerous’

An alleged armed robbery of a pharmacy that turned fatal has local pharmacists thinking more about their safety.

A robbery suspect was shot and killed by a Hamilton police officer early this morning, according to police.

Hamilton police initially responded to a 911 call about a suspect going over the pharmacy counter at Walgreens, 1090 High St. at about 2:30 a.m., according to Police Chief Craig Bucheit.

“When (police) entered the pharmacy, they discovered a lone, armed suspect holding the pharmacist hostage with a knife to her throat,” he said.

The suspect did not comply with police demands and was killed by police, according to Bucheit.

The pharmacist was not physically injured, according to police.

Charles Rohrig, a pharmacist at Mills Pharmacy in Fairfield, said the profession is “getting a little more dangerous.”

“Some of the drugs they’ve been getting on the street are harder to get,” he told this news outlet.

With laws being toughened to limit access to opioids, Rohrig said people are “going to more desperate means to get it.”

“Its kind of scary,” he said.

Chelsea Powell, a pharmacy manager at Fairfield Pharmacy, agreed.

“I definitely feel like the dangers are more severe with the heroin epidemic,” Powell said.

“Throughout recent years there’s been an increase in not only illegal substance abuse, but there’s been a huge incresse in legal substance abuse and pharmacies have become a target,” she said.

At other stores where he works, Rohrig said he has had to clean up from overnight break-ins.

“Knock on wood. I’ve never had to look down a gun point,” Rohrig said.

According to a report by Pharmacy Times, 829 chain and retail pharmacies in the United States reported a robbery in 2014. Pharmacy robberies reported in the first five months of 2015 were on pace to surpass those statistics.

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