Pharmacy owner blames opioid epidemic for uptick in pharmacy robberies

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STEELTON, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. - Steelton Pharmacy was the latest in our area to be hit by robbers. After several armed pharmacy robberies over the last few months, the owner believes this is becoming a growing problem.

It's been one week since two masked men came into Steelton Pharmacy, jumping over the counter, pointing a gun at the pharmacist and demanding Oxycodone. It's a similar scenario to pharmacy owner Chuck Kray, who has heard from other pharmacies that have been hit.

"Same group of guys, waving weapons, looking for Oxycodone," said Kray. "And very, very same motive in all operations."

Kray believes the opioid epidemic is to blame. While he says the state has done a great job combatting the problem, through the Pennsylvania Drug Monitoring Program, it may also be putting addicts in a desperate situation.

"Less supply, more demand," said Kray. "And obviously I think people are turning toward armed robbery as the way to go get the drugs they are looking for."

To fully fix the problem, Kray says more attention needs to be placed on recovery efforts for addicts. Until then, he is making sure another armed robbery doesn't happen in his pharmacy. Doors are locked and customers must ring a bell to get in and police officers frequently stop by.

"The only thing you really care about is the safety of your team," said Kray. "You do not want any of your staff to be injured."

Harrisburg Police say they can not speak of any link among several armed robberies at pharmacies.

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