New York City police plan to combat the theft of painkillers and other highly addictive prescription medicines by asking pharmacies to hide fake pill bottles fitted with GPS devices amid the legitimate supplies on their shelves, the Associated Press reports. Police believe the “bait bottles” could help investigators track stolen drugs and locate suspects. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is expected to unveil the plan today a La Quinta, Ca., conference on health issues hosted by former President Bill Clinton‘s foundation.
The initiative was prompted by high-profile crimes associated with the thriving black market for prescription drugs, including the slaying of four people on Long Island during a pharmacy holdup in 2011. Also, a retired New York officer, after retiring with an injury and getting hooked on painkillers, began robbing drug stores at gunpoint. Prescription drug abuse “can serve as a gateway to criminal activities, especially among young people,” the commissioner says. “When pills become too expensive, addicts are known to resort to cheaper drugs such as heroin and cocaine. They turn to crime to support their habit.”