Why a Crazy Amount of Drugs Just Flooded Baltimore's Streets

Enough drugs out there to keep city 'intoxicated for a year': commissioner
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2015 10:29 AM CDT
Updated Jun 4, 2015 11:55 AM CDT
Rite Aid: Baltimore Looters Stole Rxs, Personal Info
Rite Aid has hired a risk-management firm to inform customers how they can look out for identity theft.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The unrest in Baltimore that took place in late April after the death of Freddie Gray veered into violence and looting, and some of the effects of that are just now being made clear. The Baltimore Sun reports "an extraordinary amount" of drugs were taken from 27 of the city's pharmacies (Rite Aid, CVS, and Care One stores) and two methadone clinics. A DEA agent notes that 40% of the pharmacies haven't even figured out total losses yet and that the amount of stolen drugs is more than what's been mentioned. "There's enough narcotics on the streets of Baltimore to keep it intoxicated for a year," Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts tells the Sun. And he puts a number on it: His cops and the DEA are working to track down 175,000 looted doses.

Rite Aid yesterday acknowledged that the labels on drugs that were taken displayed customers' personal information and said that it would hire a risk management firm to help customers fend off identity theft, the Sun also reports. While Rite Aid store reps say stolen info on drug labels doesn't contain Social Security or credit card numbers, the stolen info "still can be valuable to criminals." Experts fear that what does appear—mainly names, addresses, and medication names—could be used for illegal refills or merged with other lifted info to commit other kinds of fraud, the paper notes. "It would not surprise me if patients who used those pharmacies that were looted later learned they were victims of medical identity fraud," the program director of the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance tells the Sun. (More Baltimore stories.)

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