A Pharmacy Employee’s Reaction to the Pharmacy Massacre

A single gunman robbed the pharmacy, Haven Drugs, located in Medford, NY on Sunday shortly after opening. All four people located in the family owned business were found dead at the scene. One employee, age 17, was scheduled to be graduating this week.

Pharmacies may be a high ticket place to be robbed because of the drugs that are kept behind the counter. In fact, the pharmacy I work in in Illinois has not been an expectation. A few years ago, during the third shift hours, my pharmacy was also robbed. Thankfully, no one got hurt. When it was robbed, my heart went out to the pharmacist on duty because I knew her and worked there. I could not imagine having to go through the trauma of experiencing a robbery first hand. I have an even deeper reaction to this newest pharmacy tragedy.

I have worked in my pharmacy for almost seven years now. I deal with many people that just simply want their medications and go home. However, I also deal with those that would like to take advantage of the medications behind the counter. Most of our scary transactions are those buying products to make Meth. When a person comes up to the counter that is visible under the influence of something, it can be a scary place to be. You don’t want to look at them, but you do want to look at them in case you need to recall something.

When I got my job at the pharmacy, I never accept it to be a place to draw criminals. I work everyday knowing that the things I deal with, people would kill for. The shooting in New York just reminds me of that stronger everyday. Our society has grown to the point that so many people are out for a cheap thrill. Either these people want the medications for themselves or they are robbing the store to sell the medications to make a buck. I am very saddened at the events that happened in New York on Sunday, and my heart goes out to the families of those that died.

So many people walk into the doors of my pharmacy forgetting that we do risk our lives everyday to provide medical care. We are not a doctor’s office, which only keeps samples of cheap and not worthy drugs. We are not a hospital, where there is active security and plenty of employees. I wish more people would give their pharmacies respect for the job they do. I know we are not police officers, firefighters, or any other profession that you can visibility see the risks. Our risks are silent, and come up unexpectedly. I cry many tears for those working at any pharmacy that has been robbed. Next time you are filling your medications remember that now all heroes wear badges, masks, or capes.

To the employees and customers that lost their lives on Sunday. You are true heroes. You have been since the moment you started working for your pharmacy. My support and love goes out to the family, and know that somewhere, in Illinois, there is a pharmacy technician that will be thinking about you everyday. I am truly sorry for your lost.