September 27, 2010 by Post Team
Your employer was well planned and predictable: steal a car. Rob a pharmacist. Make your getaway.
His motive was less complex, but always the same: to get the OxyContin his body craved.
The plan worked so well that he stole 10 pharmacies in one month, until he was captured and imprisoned later.
Police and experts say the case typifies addiction Sharlow of danger and desperation of addicts driven to get their dose of OxyContin, the brand name given an opioidanlgesic medication dispensing, oxycodone, through the release time. When crushed, the high dose is released at once, producing a feeling of euphoria.
“They are cheating, lying, exaggerating (and) the violation of their own sense of ethics in order to satisfy the habit,” says Dr. David Hodgins, University of Calgary laboratory addictive behaviors.
“Because opioids have such a powerful influence, the tendency of that happening is even more exaggerated.”
Calgary police recorded 48 pharmacy robberies last year, more than double the number 2008. Almost always, the thieves are after OxyContin.
In March, Michael Robert Gauthier, 34, was sentenced to eight years for stealing a dozen pharmacies in Calgary. One of the victims was a pregnant woman Gauthier.
Arthurs Timothy Curtis, 25, stole the northwest of the same pharmacy on three occasions. He was sentenced in February to 3 ½ years in prison.
And while the number of pharmacy burglaries has dropped to 25 this year, police and pharmacists are no less concerned. Pharmacists Association of Alberta, in its annual convention next weekend in Calgary, will devote an entire session to educate its members about the crimes that have rocked the industry.
While the drug is often compared to heroin, has been around for over a decade, thefts of OxyContin push in the center of attention for many Calgarians.
Sharlow OxyContin addiction started after an attempt to change his life after release from prison six years ago, says her mother, Gay Powles. 32 and now serving a sentence of eight years related to theft, Sharlow had been a rebellious young man and went to prison after serving 18 years. His mother admits that sometimes doubted his ability to reform. But it soon proved him wrong.
“I was skeptical As a mother, I wanted to have success. I tried to help as I could, but there was still a part of me that said ‘I do not know, I’ll believe it when I see it,’” says Powles.
Sharlow worked for moving companies, and had the intention of learning how the industry worked so he could start his own business.
Impressed with his progress, the family lent him money for his first truck.
“Not only do they pay us back, but exceeded our expectations,” says his mother. “He was doing so well. He put his brothers to work and paid his staff also. It was getting a good reputation.”
It was later injured in a work in motion last year that a friend recommended that I try OxyContin for pain relief.
Sharlow was hooked, and soon resumed his life of crime. In September 2009, began what would become one of Calgary’s largest pharmacy robbery sprees.
“It’s accepted full responsibility for their actions but at the same time he did, he said he could never stop thinking he was doing wrong,” says his mother. “He was in so much pain when I was out of OxyContin, her body was so bad I just wish there had to be a solution to stop yourself going through that pain.”
debt and fear, no pain, pushed Bassam Soufan OxyContin.
For him, a few games of poker in a casino in Calgary launched a sophisticated smuggling operation OxyContin, the court documents.
Luck was not with Soufan while playing poker at a casino in the city in February 2007. A man who had met while playing a month before, encouraged him to continue playing, and the bigger bet. Soufan and 2000 borrowed and spent.
The following night the man came home and demanded the return Soufan. Knowing Soufan was in charge of a pharmacy in northwest Calgary, and responsible for ordering supplies and maintaining inventory, devised a payment plan – Soufan could repay the loan with cheap OxyContin.
According to court documents and a decision by the Alberta College of Pharmacists, the man paid Soufan and 8 for each pickup and, in an effort to cover their tracks, Soufan for reimbursement of pharmacy and 4 per pill cost for 80 mg tablets.
After he agreed to try an old 100 pills, Soufan thought that his debt was canceled – until a threatening call to the pharmacy suggested that he continue. According to court documents, she said her legs would be broken if the cheap supply came to an end.
For months, Soufan continued to sell the pills in fear and learned they were going to a biker gang. It spent the money on his girlfriend, family abroad and living expenses.
In September, however, the pharmacy owner of the large discrepancy between the number of pills ordered the provider and how few went to the patients. Soufan and the owner called the police and the pharmacy school, which was later suspended for two years.
By the time all was said and done, a whopping 16 000 tablets were stolen and Soufan was sentenced to house arrest for 18 months after coming clean.
The man left the country.
OxyContin was first used in 1995 and its abuse has been noted in many cities since then. In a study of five years in Toronto, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the release time of treatment with oxycodone cases increased from a handful in 2000 to more than 90 years in 2004.
OxyContin’s dangers is that users can familiarize themselves with the dose and then require increasingly strong pills for the same purpose. It can also be physically and psychologically addictive and quitting smoking withdrawal symptoms such as restless sleep, muscle spasms, sweating and vomiting, according to Alberta Health Services.
What makes a successful drug on the street is that the release mechanism can be easily broken. The pill can be crushed and then smoked, taken intravenously or inhaled to deliver the entire dose of oxycodone pill at a time. Produces a high like heroin, which is how she came for her nickname “hillbilly heroin.”
And it can be fatal. The reports of the chief medical examiner’s office in 2009, 55 in Alberta, that Calgarians 15, died of an overdose and had some oxycodone in your system. Sixteen of Alberta, three of whom were from Calgary, died of oxycodone or oxycodone toxicity and toxicity of ethanol, according to figures provided to the Herald.
Since 2005, 81 people in Alberta died of ethanol toxicity oxycodone / while 300 cases of overdose include the presence of at least some oxycodone.
Addiction counselor Richard Phillips says there are now 340 people in southern Alberta are treated with opioids.
“We see the whole range. We see people you have to use OxyContin drug use and the street we see people who were prescribed painkillers for a legitimate medical condition and lost control. We have the whole world of people living in shelters to the people running their own businesses. ”
Calgary police say Oxy began to see in the streets almost as soon as it was legally available.
“It started years ago with morphine,” said the drug squad Det. Collin Harris. “It’s just one of those things that has evolved as the pharmaceutical companies created new and better drugs for pain.”
street use of OxyContin is often linked to other crimes – break and enter, fraud prescription – to support the habit.
“It is not difficult for someone to get OxyContin. It’s as easy as entering a doctor’s office and complains of a back injury.’s Going to be up to the doctor to decide exactly what to prescribe,” says Harris.
The police and the pharmacy industry say the rise in robberies has brought new attention to safety. When the tip of robberies in 2009, many pharmacies had inadequate security cameras that provide pictures unusable, said Const. Dallis Cairns, a Calgary police officer dedicated to working on the issue of pharmacy robberies.
She says that 14 pharmaceutical companies are working with police to better train their staff on what to do when they stole and how to be a better witness.
Pharmacies are also population less OxyContin pills and prescriptions often have to be ordered in advance so that the pads are not always there. Many advertising signs that do not carry the drug.
But while pharmacies are taking very seriously the robberies, people who say they have won the ordeal left shaken. Deborah, who did not want his name published or pharmacy was the victim Sharlow.
“First, you can feel the beating of his heart and it’s almost like it’s going so fast that even pace. One can only feel that it is stopped. The time stops,” he says.
Sharlow walked by the sign that said the pharmacy does not carry OxyContin.
“The guy clearly did not read or pay attention to the sign on the door. I think that’s a problem,” says Deborah. “Too Pharmacies put those signs on doors saying they have none of these products and they do. For stores that do not really have the goods or keep it very, very limited quantities of them, affecting them because nobody believes that the signs “.
She proposes that the drug should be dispensed as methadone only a few select locations and secure.
After his arrest in October after a police investigation across the city, Sharlow was forced to face the pain, eventually withdraw scorching who had tried to prevent the theft of these pharmaceuticals.
From the detention center, called his mother to say it was the worst he had ever felt.
“His life for the past months was a total lie,” says Gay Powles. “Finally I said, ‘Mom, I was arrested. I was rescued.” I knew at that moment he was out of control. “
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