Wednesday, 04 February 2009 15:11

From the Desk of Sheriff Jim Coats - January 2008

Written by  Sheriff Jim Coats
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Sheriff Jim CoatsClearwater, FL (January 2009) - Most people feel safe inside their own home and once inside, their personal belongings are often left unsecured or easily accessible. This is especially true when it comes to prescription medications. A recent trend suggests that medication has become a popular target for thieves.  I would like to take this opportunity to offer some suggestions on how to properly secure your prescription medications and to prevent the expense and inconvenience associated with this type of theft.

Over the past few years we have seen an increase in the theft of prescription medication from private homes.  In some cases the theft is part of a burglary in which the perpetrator targeted jewelry, cash, and small electronics.  After gathering valuables to steal, the burglar simply opened a medicine cabinet before leaving and then took whatever prescription medication that was in plain view.  In other cases, a theft was committed by trades people, invited guests, or even relatives who had access to medication that was in a medicine chest or left out in plain view.  Some thefts were not discovered for an extended period of time because individual pills had been stolen or because the medication was no longer being taken by the victim.

Prescription drug thefts pose a significant threat to public health and safety because of the propensity for abuse.  Stolen medication is sometimes sold or traded on the street, and can lead to an overdose or other catastrophic medical problems when ingested without proper medical screening.  As most of us know, drug abuse also leads to an increase in other crimes that can sometimes result in violence.  Furthermore, the theft of prescription medication can result in the lapse of a medically necessary dose used to treat a medical condition.  Due to strict regulation of some medication, replacing medically necessary drugs which have been stolen may not be easy to obtain or inexpensive for the victim. To prevent theft, it is suggested that all medication be stored in a secure location and within the properly marked container in which it was dispensed.  It is also recommended that you keep track of medication so that missing pills or liquid is immediately detected.  Medication that is no longer needed or which has expired should be safely disposed of by flushing it down a toilet.By following these simple tips you can help us to achieve our goal of “Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas.” 

For additional suggestions regarding home security please contact the Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at (727) 582-5611.

- Tampa Bay Informer
The Good News Newspaper

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