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Burglars may not be looking for your TV or phone; they’re after your medication

Illegal trade in prescription medications make them an attractive target for theft

When a burglar targets homes for break-ins, they usually have a good idea of the kinds of items they’re hoping to be able to steal once they get inside. We would normally think of things like jewellery, mobile phones, TV and other technology, however the item that is increasingly at the top of their wish list is actually your medication.

This is because of the growing illegal trade in prescription medication. Addiction to painkillers and tranquilisers is becoming as big an issue as addiction to class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine. This means there is a huge black market for these kinds of medications so they can be much more profitable, and easier to sell, than phones or jewellery. Also easier to carry than a 42” TV!

It’s therefore not uncommon for houses to be targeted on this basis. Opioids, such as fentanyl, codeine, morphine and tramadol are very strong drugs, prescribed for pain relief. Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium) and temazepam are psychoactive drugs usually prescribed for things like anxiety and insomnia.

How do burglars target homes for medications?

Unfortunately, the best chance of finding these types of drugs is to target people who are vulnerable such as the elderly or people suffering from chronic illnesses. There are even warnings that there could be even greater black market demand for these types of drugs should we leave the EU without a deal (due to the fear of drugs shortages).

How can you protect your home?

The principles of preventing a burglary for medication are essentially the same as protecting it from any other kind of burglary: ensure you have good (anti-snap) locks; install a burglar alarm and always set it, including at night when you’re in bed; keep medication out of sight etc.

A safe is a good place to keep these kinds of medications as it not only protects them from burglars but keeps them out of harm’s way from children and pets. We’d also recommend disposing of expired medications safely by returning them to your doctor or pharmacy (stockpiling them can really make you a target).

Obviously, if you or a family member is ill that can be stressful enough without worrying about burglary so we don’t want to alarm you unnecessarily. However it is a risk you need to be aware of and the best way to manage that risk is to protect yourself and your home.

If you would like further advice on this issue please call us on 01924 371941, send us a message using the form opposite or call into our security shop on Roundwood Industrial Estate, Wakefield.