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Posses of Post Workers Are Charged With Stealing Pills

America's prescription drug abuse epidemic is being fueled by thefts from the mail.

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A nice little sideline? Thinkstock

By Ariel Nagi

08/10/11

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Legitimate prescription-drug users say they feel "violated" after their supplies have mysteriously gone missing in the mail. Jan Pruninski of Sugar Land, Texas, who is prescribed "a controlled substance," complained to Khou 11 News: "Three weeks ago, I got the latest installment of the medication and got my 90-day supply and I brought it home and one of the three bottles in there was open and all the medication was missing." Hundreds of thousands of Americans get drugs, such as Oxycontin and Adderall, delivered in the mail. But the US Postal Service admits that 416 postal employees were arrested for theft, delay, or destroying mail in 2010—and while they aren't giving any specific information about the thefts, anecdotal evidence suggest prescription drugs are going missing on a large scale. Pruninski had signed for his package before he noticed it had been tampered with, so will get no follow-up. But a Khou 11 News employee, who was also a victim of drug theft, received a letter from the Office of the Inspector General, saying that her case was being investigated. The US Postal Service will make no further comment. Meanwhile, after Prusinski told his story to a Texas newspaper, it received numerous calls from other alleged victims. Mail theft is yet another way—to add to pill mills, consumer sales and pharmacy robberies—for drugs to reach the black market that's fueling America's epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

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