WOODBURY - The recent armed robbery of a Medford pharmacy that left four people dead has brought into focus the problem of prescription drug abuse on Long Island. Police say the man who entered Haven Drug Store Sunday and shot four people to death before taking off with a bag filled with prescription drugs is an addict. "Melanie," a 20-year-old recovering drug addict, says while she is appalled by the story, she recognizes desperation in the suspect's actions. "It robbed me of my soul, and that's what I imagine happened here," she says. This is not the first crime allegedly fueled by prescription drugs. In April 2010, Kayla Gerdes was accused of mowing down an elderly woman while high on prescription pills. In 2009, Maureen Lambert admitted to being high on heroin when she hit and killed 11-year-old Courtney Sipes. Drug counselors say these tragedies highlight the fact that the drug problem has reached a crisis level."We're beginning to see this kind of damage spilling out of the life of the addict and their family into the public domain and impacting people who are going about their everyday lives," says Jeffrey Reynolds, of the Long Island Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence.
For an extended interview with "Melanie," a recovering drug addict, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.