Police in New york City are set to begin distributing “bait bottles,” fitted with a GPS device, to track bottles of oxycontin. The NYPD hopes that the phony pill bottles will help catch thieves who have robbed pharmacies and individuals of the powerful painkiller.
Oxycontin, or the generic form oxycodone, is a highly addictive painkiller that has become increasingly popular in New York City. In recent years, armed robberies associated with thieves trying to obtain the drug have increased dramatically.
The new initiative, “Operation Safety Cap,” will also include a database of pharmacies in New York City. The city’s 6,000 pharmacies will be expected to keep closer track of addictive prescription drug prescriptions. According to a report by NBC News, the program will also focus on educating high school students about the risks associated with prescription drug abuse.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was quoted by CBS News, discussing the operation:
“(Prescription drug use) can serve as a gateway to criminal activities, especially among young people. When pills become too expensive, addicts are known to resort to cheaper drugs such as heroin and cocaine. They turn to crime to support their habit. In the event of a robbery or theft, we’ll be able to track the bottle, which may lead us to stash locations across the city.”
New York City Mayor Bloomberg recently announced another plan to help curb the abuse of addictive painkillers. In a move that has sparked criticism, Bloomberg announced that he would be starting an initiative to reduce the number of painkillers prescribed in hospital emergency rooms.
The NYPD plans to start distributing the GPS outfitted bottles of Oxycontin to pharmacies in the area soon.