A burglar made off with highly addictive prescription drugs from a local pharmacy Wednesday morning.
First, a burglar tried to get into D&H Pharmacy on Broadway around 3:45 a.m.
The burglar was not able to get into the pharmacy, but did damage the door. While investigating that attempted burglary, officers got another call about a burglary at the Columbia Medical Plaza on Keene Street at 4:35 a.m.
When officers arrived, they found a shattered glass door and a broken window at Flo’s Pharmacy, located on the first floor.
The owner, Randy Flo, confirmed schedule two drugs were stolen. Those include drugs like methadone, hydromorephone or meperdine.
They’re medications commonly used in oxycontin or percocet. They’re highly additive and dangerous if used outside prescription recommendations. People also sell them for high sums of money on the street.
ABC17 News reached out to several drug task forces Wednesday to find out more about the prescription drugs and what to look out for once they’ve been stolen.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol regulates five different drug task forces across the state.
It investigates reports of all narcotics use, but prescription drug abuse is included under that umbrella.
“We do that by conducting both covert and overt narcotics investigations, whether it be undercover drug buys, conducting search warrants, or getting out and talking with the public,” said Sergeant Shawn Griggs, a member of the MSHP drug and crimes division.
Most law enforcement will treat a burglary at a pharmacy the same way it would treat any other burglary, but the task force units specialize in getting the drugs off the street.
“Our drug task forces also work with confidential informants,” Griggs said. “We interview a lot of people that are arrested for these crimes to see if they can help us determine where the drugs are coming from or what the source is.”
While Flo didn’t confirm exactly what schedule two drugs were taken from the pharmacy, Griggs mentioned schedule two drugs can also be classified as opioid painkillers, another extremely dangerous and easily addictive drug.
“They’re medicine for the right people when they’re prescribed by a doctor,” he said. “When they’re misused they can be very dangerous because they are synthetic heroin which seem to be what there’s an extreme amount of abuse with.”
He said any kind of medicine that’s not in an official container should raise a red flag. He also warned that it’s easy for young people to get involved with it when it’s out on the streets.
“A lot of them might have the idea that ‘it’s okay it’s medicine. It might not have been prescribed to me but it is okay to take’,” he said. “In fact it’s not. It’s very dangerous because some of these drugs, like the opioid painkillers, are synthetic heroin.”
Griggs said the state works extensively on education partly through a Prescription Drug Abuse Workgroup.
It includes representatives from different medical fields, including pharmacists, doctors, nurses and even mental health professionals.
“The work group continues to look at ways to address the problem of misuse from multiple angles including education, treatment, enforcement and monitoring,” said Griggs.
While nothing has been taken from D&H Drugstores in Columbia, this is the second time it been targeted in under two weeks.
Because of the closeness of the times of the burglaries, police told ABC 17 News they believe the two are connected.
Both owners confirm they’re currently taking more security measures to prevent their businesses from being targeted in the future.
Police do not have a suspect or suspect vehicle description yet.