Open most newspapers around the country and you will see headlines about opiate addiction and the impacts they are making on our society. No town is too small or too remote to not be affected. I get calls from people all over the country that can not believe that their small town is being so heavily affected by painkiller and heroin use. When someone is addicted to opiates, their brain chemistry begins to change. Certain chemicals begin to deplete while others are over-produced. This unbalance in brain chemicals causes many addicts to think irrationally and do things they normally wouldn't. The abuse of opiates has caused a major increase in pharmacy robberies, theft, and even murder. The power of opiates are very strong, and cause rational people to make life altering decisions.
It's common knowledge that people on drugs do not make the most rational choices. The problem is that many opiate addicts would not make the horrible decisions they make if they weren't addicted. Withdrawal is the main problem with opiate addiction. When an addict is unable to get their opiates, they body starts going through withdrawal. Those who have been through it claim it's like having the worse case of the flu multiplied by 100. Vomiting, cold sweats, diarrhea, mood swings, anxiety and depression are just a few of the symptoms an addict may face while going through withdrawal. The problem is that addicts know if they get more pills the withdrawal symptoms will go away almost immediately. When an addict is having a craving for their drugs and are unable to get them, they can become dangerous. The opiate epidemic has caused an increase in pharmacy robberies, theft, and even murder. Addicts get desperate for their drugs, and some are willing to do whatever is necessary to get their next fix.
Pharmacy robberies are becoming more frequent, and the it's not for the money. The robberies are for prescription opiates. Opiate abuse is getting so bad, that corporate pharmacy chains have started to hire armed guards to protect their pharmacy employees and their customers. In Long Island, New York, a pharmacy robber shot and killed an off-duty ATF agent after the suspect robbed the pharmacy for prescription painkillers. This is becoming far too common.
Armed robberies at pharmacies rose 81 percent between 2006 and 2010, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This is a problem that continues to climb as opiate abuse increases.
Closing arguments were given Friday morning in the trial of 41-year-old Andrew Kierstead, who is charged with murder in the shooting death on Sept. 27, 2012, of 48-year-old Richard L. Mills. Andrew Kierstead is alledged to have shot Mills over an argument about prescription painkillers. This problem is affecting people all over the country and something needs to be done to help curb the violence and abuse. We need to understand the effects that opiates have on people and the decisions they end up making. If you or someone you know is addicted to opiates, please seek professional help immediately.