The White House

Office of the National Drug Control Policy

Readout of White House Drug Policy Director Meeting on Pharmacy Robberies

Washington, D.C. —Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, convened a meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials, and representatives from the pharmacy community to discuss the threat to public safety posed by pharmacy robberies and burglaries. During the meeting, Director Kerlikowske discussed the importance of working with public safety officials to share best practices for preventing and reducing diversion of prescription drugs from pharmacies and improve data collection regarding the scope of the problem. Director Kerlikowske also highlighted the Obama Administration’s comprehensive plan to reduce prescription drug abuse by 15 percent over the next five years.

“Our Nation’s pharmacies are a vital component of our health care system and provide an invaluable public health service to our communities,” said Director Kerlikowske. “All of us have a responsibility to ensure Americans continue to have safe and legitimate access to prescription drugs, while at the same time protecting pharmacies and their employees. Ultimately, our Nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic is the root cause of these crimes, and we must work in a balanced way to reduce the abuse of these drugs. I look forward to continuing to work with our state and local partners to crack down on pharmacy crimes and support programs and policies like drug prevention and treatment that will effectively reduce prescription drug abuse and related crime.”

As part of the Administration’s unprecedented efforts to address the prescription drug abuse threat, last week, ONDCP also convened pharmacists, academics, and leaders representing independent and chain pharmacies to discuss ways to expand education opportunities regarding prescription drug abuse in colleges of pharmacy and through continuing education programs.

Prescription drug abuse is the Nation's fastest-growing and deadliest drug problem. Drug-induced deaths (driven primarily by prescription drug overdose) are now the second-leading cause of injury death in the country, behind only traffic crashes. In April, the Administration released Epidemic: Responding to America's Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis, a national framework for reducing prescription drug diversion and abuse by supporting the expansion of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs, recommending more convenient and environmentally responsible disposal methods to remove unused medications from the home, supporting education for patients and healthcare providers, and reducing the prevalence of pill mills and doctor shopping through enforcement efforts.