OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s a crime that plays out repeatedly on an almost daily basis all over Oklahoma.
Now, Walgreens Pharmacy is fighting back against thieves who want to get their hands on powerful pain pills.
Every Walgreens in the state is now equipped with a time-locked safe.
The idea is to deter robberies by making it harder to access the most commonly abused prescription pills.
“The whole idea is to protect our customers and employees,” said Jay Kinnard, a pharmacist at Walgreens.
Oxycontin, Oxycodone and other high value drugs will be kept in the time-lock safes.
“To activate the safe, you have to put a key in and then activate it. The time delay begins and you can’t open the safe until the time period is up,” said Kinnard.
“In the last decade, we’ve seen a spike in robberies of pharmacies,” said Mark Woodward, with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
Officials with OBN say the abuse of prescription pills is an epidemic in Oklahoma.
Last year, the state saw 850 drug-related deaths.
Officials say 80 percent of those involved at least one prescription drug.
That’s why officials with OBN agree the time-lock safe could deter some robberies.
“I think it will be effective,” said Woodward. “Not having direct access can be a deterrent.”
“Robbers know the longer they spend in our stores, the greater chance they have of getting caught,” said Kinnard.
This isn’t unique to Oklahoma.
Walgreens claims other states where the time-lock safes have been installed saw a decrease in the number of robberies.