Masked suspect demands drugs from Hampton Pharmacy

By Megan R. Harrell
Star Staff

   A man wearing a pillowcase over his head entered the Hampton Pharmacy, Hwy. 321, Monday morning and demanded all of the store's Schedule II OxyContin. Witnesses told the Carter County Sheriff's Department the suspect kept his hand in a pocket to give the appearance of a gun, although no weapon was ever seen.
   Sheriff John Henson stated the suspect entered the Hampton Pharmacy shortly after 10 a.m. and made a demand for OxyContin several times. The suspect grabbed another customer by the arm and asked the pharmacist again to give him all the Schedule II OxyContin in the store. The pharmacist then put what OxyContin he could into a bag and gave it to the suspect. The exact amount of medication taken is still unknown.
   The suspect left the pharmacy alone and retreated on foot through Laurel Creek and disappeared in the trailer park on Swimming Pool Road. The CCSD's K-9 unit and deputies responded to the scene and searched the areas surrounding the pharmacy, creek and trailer park, but have been unable to locate the suspect.
   Although the suspect has not been found, Sheriff Henson believes his department has a good chance of finding the perpetrator. "We have a good description on this guy. He had shoulder-length brownish blond hair and was wearing blue jeans, a denim jacket and white shoes," Sheriff Henson said. "It is probably a local."
   Sheriff Henson expects the number of drug store robberies to continue to rise. He stated that the county's crackdown on illegal drugs has made it much more difficult for users.
   The robbery at the Hampton Pharmacy, in broad daylight, shows just how desperate drug users are becoming. "There is going to be a lot more of this because drugs are getting harder to get and there are a lot of people out of work right now," Sheriff Henson said. "If you have the habit, you've got to support it and that leads to a dangerous situation," Sheriff Henson said.
   The prescription pain killer OxyContin is extremely addictive and is gaining popularity as a street drug. The drug has many of the same properties as morphine and addicts receive highs by chewing or crushing the pills. Crushing OxyContin allows the addict to get high quickly by ruining the time-release capabilities of the pills.