CRIME

Indiana crackdown on opioids sparks more pharmacy robberies

When Indiana cracked down on the opioid crisis, it accidentally helped spark a wave of pharmacy robberies, eventually reporting more robberies than any other state.

The frequent holdups show how the opioid epidemic shape-shifts to evade new obstacles. Dealers and those struggling with addictions quickly adapt to new regulations and law enforcement tactics.

Officials say prescription limits Indiana imposed starting in 2013 helped create the crime wave by prompting some people who misuse opioids to rob pharmacies. They mostly targeted stores in Indianapolis.

Pharmacies and police are fighting back. Pharmacy chains have installed time-release safes that force robbers to risk arrest by waiting.

Indiana had 651 pharmacy robberies between 2009 and 2016. That was more than the 597 recorded by No. 2 California, which has six times the population.