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Organized Retail Crime and the Opioid Crisis: Two National Epidemics

A large part of LPM’s mission is to provide educational content to our audience. We are excited to share this new offering as part of our partnership with LPRC. The research and studies showcased here are normally only made available to LPRC members. As a reader of LPM, you’ll get access to select research and be able to view it on our website. To see all the available research, go to and learn more about becoming a member.

Organized retail crime poses a significant financial burden on retailers, impacting nearly every sector in the landscape and costing them billions of dollars lost in sales. ORC’s rise parallels the opioid crisis in the United States, where the illicit use of opioids like fentanyl has surged, contributing to thousands of overdose deaths annually and substantial societal costs.

Despite speculation about connections between ORC and the opioid crisis, systematic research on this relationship is lacking. Understanding the motivations and behaviors of opioid-addicted individuals involved in ORC, compared to other types of offenders, remains a critical gap in current knowledge. Various types of thieves have been identified through research, but specific characteristics and patterns of opioid-addicted ORC offenders require further study to develop effective prevention strategies.

- Digital Partner -

Recent research by the LPRC has begun to address these gaps, focusing on the histories, patterns, and behaviors of opioid-addicted individuals engaged in ORC. This includes exploring recruitment methods, criminal activities beyond ORC, preferences for theft targets, and interactions with anti-theft technologies. Insights from these studies can help inform retailers on enhancing security measures and mitigating risks associated with opioid-related ORC activities in their businesses.

Download the full study here.

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