NEW YORK (PIX11)—The massacre inside a Long Island pharmacy has Sen. Charles Schumer calling for a federal crackdown on prescription drug abuse.
He says narcotic abuse has risen to levels not seen since the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980's.
"Once they become crazed, as you say, and they need these drugs they do lots of bad things," said Schumer. "We're trying to stop them from getting to that stage," referencing last Sunday's deadly shooting that left four people dead at Havens Drugs in Medford.
Suffolk County Police say David Laffer walked into the pharmacy June 19 shortly after 10 a.m. Without announcing a robbery, he opened fire, killing a clerk, the pharmacist and two customers. He fled with a backpack full of painkillers with his wife, Melinda Brady at the wheel, prosecutors said. They were arrested three days later at their home, a mile and a half from the pharmacy.
Data provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) show armed robberies at drug stores have spiked by 81 percent between 2006-2010.
The senator says tougher penalties are needed to help fight prescription drug abuse and pharmacy robberies. "We make the penalties for robbing pharmacies for these drugs not just an ordinary theft, but much more severe," he said. "That would, A, when the criminals are caught they're going to stay in jail a longer time and B, be a deterrent."