OxyContin robberies in Washington have prompted an unprecedented response from Walgreens, one of the nation's largest pharmacy chains, reports the Spokane Spokesman-Review. New time-delayed safes have been installed in Walgreens pharmacies across the state to hold supplies of the powerful painkiller. The timed locks take several minutes to open, halting immediate access to a prescription drug that's prompted about a dozen armed robberies at Spokane County Walgreens stores since last fall.
“We're trying to get the word out: Leave us alone,” said Brad Hancock, manager of a Spokane Walgreens. So far, the company has installed the safes only in Washington state. Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger said pharmacy robberies there outnumber those in all other states. “Pharmacy robberies in Washington state have gotten out of hand,” Elfinger said. “We needed to do this to protect our employees and customers.”