At least 175,000 doses of prescription drugs were stolen from 27 pharmacies and two methadone clinics during the Baltimore riots in April, according to Police Commissioner Anthony Batts. He said the stolen drugs have led to turf wars and violence over their illegal resale.
Violent crime in Baltimore has spiked since protests broke out in late April following the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody from a severe spinal injury, the article notes. There were 43 homicides in May in the city, the most in one month since 1978.
Private information found on drug labels, including names and addresses, could potentially lead to identity fraud, Time reports.
The Baltimore Sun reports police are working with federal partners including the Drug Enforcement Administration to seize the stolen drugs. “There are enough narcotics on the streets of Baltimore to keep it intoxicated for a year,” Batts said. “That amount of drugs has thrown off the balance on the streets of Baltimore.”
DEA Special Agent Gary Tuggle said about 40 percent of the looted pharmacies have not finished counting losses.
While there is no evidence that stolen prescriptions have resulted in identity theft so far, Rite Aid officials said the chain has hired the risk management firm Kroll as a precaution “to alert impacted customers via a letter of notification and share with them the proactive measures it has taken to guard against identity theft.”
Pharmacies and other organizations bound by medical privacy regulations are required by federal law to disclose breaches of customer data within 60 days.