Pill-Poppers Spur Maine's Crime Spike

By McCarton Ackerman 06/21/12

Pharmacies robberies and burglaries of elderly people are two of the ways that desperate Mainers try to score.

Maine Attorney General Mills addresses
prescription drug abuse in 2010
Photo via

Maine has just experienced its biggest jump in annual crime since 1975—and the state's Public Safety Commissioner John E. Morris blames prescription drugs for the problem. Overall crime in the state has increased 5.4% from 2010-2011. But the most noticeable trend is that pharmacy robberies have doubled during that time. There were 24 pharmacy robberies in 2010, compared with just two in 2008—and 23 pharmacies have been held up already this year. If that growth rate continues, 14% of all pharmacies in Maine will have been subject to a robbery by the end of the year. Home burglaries in the state also jumped 10%—and many of them are of a very specific kind. "I contend that prescription drug addicts, who are unfortunately sick with this addiction, are also the primary cause of the increase of burglaries throughout the state,” says Morris. “These aren’t traditional burglaries. These are people sick with addiction breaking into houses to get prescription drugs. Unfortunately, their targets are those infirm or the elderly who they think are on prescription drugs." Oxycodone is currently Maine's drug of choice.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.