By Eden Laikin
ATF Agent John Capano was an unwitting casualty of the prescription drug war. He was shot and killed on New Year’s Eve while attempting to stop an addict from robbing a Seaford pharmacy for highly sought-after painkillers.
Now his family is determined to do whatever it takes to make sure no other family goes through that pain.
That determination brought Capano’s sister, Maryellen Guerriero, to a conference yesterday on pharmacy safety, hosted by Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano’s prescription drug task force. Guerriero and her son, Anthony – a New York City cop – joined the task force just weeks after suddenly finding themselves thrown into the world of drug addiction. They’ve attended events, like yesterday’s training, to lend support for the group’s efforts.
“He not only took John’s life, he ruined our lives as well,” Guerriero said of the robbery suspect who was also killed at the pharmacy. “John went to the pharmacy that day to pick up medicine and never came back. Nobody should have to worry about dying when they go to a pharmacy.”
In addition to programs for pharmacy safety, the task force has brought together experts from various industries to collaborate to find an array of solutions to the pain pill crisis. The members also bring drug awareness presentations to schools and other groups and they plan to lobby the state for specific legislative remedies.
Yesterday’s security training course was the second part of a safety program, brought to pharmacists through a partnership between Nassau County and InfraGard – an FBI-public private partnership – to discuss various drug diversion schemes, tips to recognize fraudulent prescriptions and identify drug seekers and the best ways to deter robbers.
About 65 attendees listened to safety and security tips from a representative of Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin – one of the most widely sought-after Opioids. The security official spoke about a powerful tool the company uses to track pharmacy crime – RX Patrol. Pharmacies and police departments around the Country post information to the online site so that others can see crime patterns.
Presentations were also given by Detective Sgt. Bill Healy of Nassau County Police Department’s Homeland Security division and Detective John Giambrone of the Robbery Squad. The law enforcement officials urged pharmacists to partner with police in making their stores safer and advised them to call 911 to report any suspicious occurrences.
Pharmacists were also given posters to hang in their stores, which say they are working in conjunction with the NCPD.
In addition to pharmacists, the audience consisted of law enforcement officials, security industry providers and hospital administrators. – and one elected official.
State Assemblyman David McDonough addressed the crowd at one point and stressed the importance of pharmacy crime prevention through increased education to children before they pick up a drink or a drug for the first time.