Skip to Content

Law enforcement: Criminal activity tied to prescription drugs increasing

After a recent armed robbery at a Columbia pharmacy, ABC 17 News is taking another look at the prescription drug epidemic in Mid-Missouri.

It’s the fastest growing drug problem in our state. In fact, between 2005 and 2014, hospitalization for opioid overdoses in the state of Missouri increased by 137 percent.

On Saturday, a suspect police describe as a white man, between the ages of 25-40, stole 19 prescriptions from Kilgore’s Pharmacy on Chapel Hill.

While it’s unclear if the weekend robbery was directly tied to opioid abuse, law enforcement officials say they have seen an increase in criminal activity tied to prescription pills.

“We are seeing much more criminal activity related to abuse and illegal transfers of prescription medication,” Detective Tom O’Sullivan with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department tells ABC 17 News, adding, “I would say this dilemna has surfaced and enhanced itself probably in the last five to eight years.”

As for what’s being done to fight it? In June, Governor Nixon signed legislation to increase access to an opioid overdose antidote. However, Missouri is still the only state in the nation without a prescription drug monitoring program.

There are a number of local addiction resources, including Phoenix Health Clinic in Columbia.

Addiction specialists say young people are especially at risk for prescription drug addiction because they often perceive that all medications are safe. They also want the public to know addiction doesn’t discriminate.

“I see people in my office every single week who are hardworking people who simply had a surgery or an accident and they were prescribed pain killers and now they get to the point where they can’t function unless they are buying drugs off the street,” Heather Harlan, a Prevention and Treatment Engagement Specialist with the Phoenix Clinic tells ABC 17 News.

Columbia residents can take unused or expired medications to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility every first and third Saturday of the month.

Meanwhile, the Columbia Police Department tells ABC 17 News there are no updates on the robbery investigation.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

ABC 17 News Team


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content