‘Hillbilly heroin’ behind spike in Edmonton pharmacy robberies: police

Drug treatment centres report similar rise in oxycodone addiction rates


Police in Edmonton say a recent spike in the number of pharmacy robberies is due to the city’s burgeoning oxycodone addiction rates. So far, 13 pharmacies have been targeted in heists—nearly double the number from this time last year—and 11 had drugs stolen. Alberta Health Services says it has seen a corresponding increase in the number of people seeking treatment for oxycodone addiction, particularly among 18-to 24-year-olds from Sherwood Park and South Edmonton.

Edmonton Journal

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‘Hillbilly heroin’ behind spike in Edmonton pharmacy robberies: police

  1. Have any of these oxy-idiots been charged by police for the robberies?

    • Why would you assume it's addicts breaking in. You don't need to be an addict to realize that stealing drugs and selling them to addicts is financially lucrative, morally bankrupt but you can make some cash. I disagree with blaming the drug companies for something like this but drug addiction is tough. Especially pain medication where people often start off using them responsibly and become hooked on them all the same.

    • They are not oxy-idiots, they're "oxymorons" ;-)

  2. @Roger McCalmont – a better question would be, have any of the perscription drug companies that put out this garbage ever been held the least bit liable or accountable for the crimes their products sometimes cause? Answer: no, big pharma just banks profits, the public pays for the externalities.

    • Oxycodone is far from garbage. When properly used it provides tremendous relief to cancer patients and other people that have severe pain. Improper use of any drug will have adverse consequences but laying blame on the pharmaceutical companies is not the answer. Having witnessed a loved one go through the horrific pain associated with cancer, I can't say enough about the relief that she received through Oxycontin.

    • Oxycodone is not garbage. Used responsibly it can be of great benefit. It is up to the person using it to be responsible. To say the drug company is responsible for the way its drug (with clear warning labels) is used, is like saying a car manufacturer is responsible because a 13 yr old stole keys for a joy ride and crashed into a house.

      Oxycontin, Percocet, etc, all have the potential to be be abuse, but they can also bring great ease when dealing with pain. When used responsibly. And personal responsibility does not belong to a corporation.

    • Their products don't cause the crime. Taking the medication doesn't turn you into a robber.

      They have tremendous street value.

    • So this tablet caused a crime did it? How?
      People use items all the time to commit a crime, does that make the manufacturer of a screwdriver responsible for the theft of a car, if one was used to start the vehicle?
      The criminal is the idiot who used it.
      Another purveyor of woo pushing their own agenda.

    • Purdue Pharma has had numerous (not sure exact amount) lawsuits filed against them for millions and millions of dollars, even though it really makes no difference as there making billions and billions of dollars.. and to Tim, when people sell there oxys they dont make some cash they make a frickin a killin especially with the 80’s. Where im from they go for 40$ a pop but in some places ive heard they go from anywhere to 40-120$ for one 80 mg pill. When people get 30-120 of these pills a MONTH well… you can do the math.

  3. intersting…someone seling marijuana will get jail time…someone selling highly addictive pain meds get rich….hmmm…which actually causes an increas in crime?

  4. Probably one addict broke into all 13 stores as it's hard for police to catch a smash and grabber.

  5. Are you guys REALLY blaming the oxycodone manufacturer for the robbery? I guess car manufacturers cause accidents, Spoons cause Opra to be fat, and the construction company that built a bridge is responsible for the person committing suicide by jumping off it. Sheesh! When does personal responsibility come into this?

    • It doesnt come in to it

      Welcome to Canada, you must be new here!

    • My point exactly. If these addicts go for treatment they should be questioned about how they got addicted & where they got their supply never mind the B.S. privacy issues. Anyone using drugs irresponsibly or because they can't face the real world should NOT get a free ride if they can't take responsibility for their own actions.

    • I've never heard this argument on the internet before. Bravo for your bravery and originality.

  6. There is far too much dependancy on drugs in our country. Doctors come into the exam room with prescription pad ready to go and oft do not even test your blood pressure to ensure you have a heart beat. The %age paid doctors for prescribing drugs (by pharmacy companies) needs to be abolished.

    • They don't pay a % in Canada. Tis illegal. Next please.

  7. There is no personal responsibility anymore! Nothing is ever my fault it is the governments fault, the companies fault, my neighbours fault etc. Everyone wants a handout and believes that everyone owes them something. That is why the world is in the shape it is today. They stole some drugs, well they are just a poor addict and they can't help themselves. We should buy them a house, get a full time counsellor for them and even buy their drugs. Lets throw in some money for them because they can't work, that would be too much stress and they would need more drugs to cope.

    • I feel sorry for your family, PRAY TO GOD, you never have a loved one that has an addiction!

      • I had an addiction as did my Father. It was called alcohol. But the difference being is I didn't whine and ask for a handout. I faced my problems and took responsibilty for them. I didn't steal as that would be morally wrong. I didn't blame the alcohol companies as they didn't force me to drink. I didn't go after the government because it is not there job to make sure I act like a adult. I did pray and I took care of my problem. I searched out my answers and took responsibility for my actions, my problems and my decesions. No one else made any of those for me so why should anyone else have to help me out. If you want to help a loved one out great and I would do the same thing. But that is not societies job.

        • NICE POST.

        • because you could buy it over the counter

      • I have had, and have lost a loved one with an addiction. And i couldn't agree with Robin more. It is all about their sense of self entitlement and shrugging off of responsibility. Nothing was ever their fault. And until it is, no amount of help you force on them will do a bit of good. Nor praying for that matter. helps those who help themselves.
        But what do I know.

    • Beat that straw man! Beat him!

  8. People should have a responsibility to the society they are a part of not the other way around.

  9. This drug is the drug of choice in Nova Scotia, particularly in Cape Breton. It is mostly prescribed by doctors who HAVE NOT BEEN trained in Canada. You get all these loser people who are not working, with nothing to do and use this as a street drug and get hooked on it. They appear in the GPs office with "Chronic Pain" and tell the doctor that "I have tried everything and this is all that works", then they get it. then they trot down to the next doctor on their list and do the same and take it to a new pharmacy. As someone who works in a family Practice, we DO NOT prescribe this drug, and do not buy into the Drug Seekers out there. In fact, when we find them, I phone around and find their other doctors and tell them what they are doing, The GPs out there need to STOP handing out pain killers like Oxycotone like it is covered smarties. The College of physicians and surgeons needs to get their @#$% together and pull this drug off the shelves and get Pharamanet in all provinces, so GPs know if these losers are using and double doctoring.

    • not all patients are drug seeking,many would rather not use them at all.
      So you would deny this drug to a patient with bone cancer?
      Your argument seems rather heartless,and paints everyone with broad strokes from the same brush

      • I am a chronic pain patient, personally i hate my pills; but they allow me to live my life. Chronic pain patients are usually miserable and this affects all facets of your life. Imagine the last toothache you had never went away. I worry about addiction but many doctors assure me on this, but not all. Thank you Rob. This is one of many problems we are trying to work through as a society. For the record I also never want to be without celebrex, vitamin d/e , calcium and gaba-pentin.
        Please prescribe the proper thing at the proper time. I will wear a scarlet letter "C" if Tom wears a"D"

  10. I like the part where they called it Hillbilly heroin.. lol

  11. Ontario has greatly increased the requirements for oxycodone/oxycontin prescriptions, citing cases of addiction among legitimate users mentioned above by Tim. As a result the street price has risen. For example, on London's downtown intersection (Richmond and Dundas streets), 80mg pills (a monstrously large dose and the most popular among serious addicts) have risen from $30 in 2009ish to $60 or even $70. Any passerby of this delightful corner who is familiar with the terminology will overhear such information at any given time of day (or night). I agree 100% with the policy, and suggest that every province reconsider their own. The probable rise in crime and poverty resulting from addicts facing higher prices is an unavoidable aspect of battling illicit use. The last thing our strained health budgets need is to be subsidizing the fastest-growing addiction in the country.

  12. Oxycontin is different than Oxycodone. I wish Macleans reporters would do their jobs and actually research their pieces.
    Just for the record, it's Oxycontin that people are having a problem with.

    • Your an idiot, Oxycodone is the exact same thing as Oxycontin. Oxycodone is just the generic name for Oxycontin. But both have the exact same thing in it. By law they have to!!! Do your research before commenting on something you dont know anything about.

      • Before you call someone an idiot, learn to spell "you're"

        • I would cut Jason a lot more slack on the spelling, than Steve on his point.
          Jason's spelling error doesn't alter the fact that his point is pretty much spot on.
          Nothing can be salvaged from Steve's perfectly spelled but ultimately wrong statement.

          Or you can carry on being a pedant, your choice.

    • No it is the SAME :OxyContin is Purdue Pharma's brand for time-release single-ingredient oxycodone oral medication.
      Oxycodone is its chemical name! dihydrohydroxycodeinone, 14-hydroxydihydrocodeinone, 6-deoxy-7,8-dihydro-14-hydroxy-3-O-methyl-6-oxomorphine

  13. Alliston Ontario now has a methadone clinic. That's how bad the opiate abuse problem is in rural Ontario. The Ontario Government was right to take action, but nothing will change until the Federal government stops being such a pushover for Big Pharma. But then again, with Health-then-Industry Minister Tony Clement being a large pharmaceutical shareholder, are we really all that surprised?

    • Every city has a methadone clinic. Im in regina saskatchewan with about 170,000 people and we have three methadone clinics.

      Also to the above post oxycodone is the chemical name in Oxycontin, whoever said the problem is oxycontin and not oxycodone because they are different things is an idiot like Jason said. If you know nothing about this topic get out of this discussion please!

  14. When reading the newspapers I can’t help but noticing the increased amount of pharmacy robberies that are solely motivated to obtain the prescription drug Oxycontin. Oxycontin is a slow-released tablet containing high quantities of pure Oxycodone, therefore providing for a very powerful, yet very addictive class of opiate pain medication. Due to the extremely addictive properties of this CII controlled substance this prescription drug is nowadays only prescribed for long term pain management in terminally ill patients. However, this was unfortunately not always the case…

    Beyonce Knowles

  15. Conservatives are INCAPABLE of understanding the permanent harm they cause to patients and the COSTS to our Canadian Society that Harper policies are DOWNLOADING on to Canadians.
      Their myopic blurred vision of Canada makes them unable to accept any sort of outside STIMULI in the form of professional knowledge on subject matter they simply do not have the mental tools to comprehend.
     Conservatives are Natural Born “KNOW EVERY-THINGS”.

    Stephen Harper is too great a simpleton to realize the harm he directly causes in his government’s failed Crime Policies, since they have targeted these drugs and have been on a Police Propaganda effort for at least 3 years now.
    This is the end product of allowing dunce cops like Shelly Glover who work fastidiously to ratchet up the fear mongering process in Ottawa that has led to Police Chiefs basically dictating not only Police Policy, but Health Care Policies as well. A subject Cops know absolutely ZERO about.

    Harper wants to punish Druggies, and in the process he PUNISHES all Canadians by destroying our Pharmaceutical Infrastructure.
    What a Parliamentary Group of complete DOH-TARDS !

    This is the end product of the Harper Government initiatives.
    There is a cause and effect to all actions.
    This is basic human nature.
    PC’s cannot re-mold the Human condition.
    Blind Faith convinces them, they can.
    The Bible says so, how could that book possibly be wrong?[sic]

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