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Police: Employee Theft Incident Involves Drug Diversion

A pharmacy worker working at a Walmart in Delray Beach, Florida has been arrested and charged in an employee theft incident that allegedly involves stealing prescription drugs as part of a drug diversion operation, according to local authorities.

According to reports, Gabriel Brown, 20, was allegedly seen on video surveillance taking full bottles of Alprazolam and placing them into the pharmacy’s trash can. After placing the bottles in the trash, she would then take out the garbage before the end of her work shift. Brown would then take the trash can into a bathroom and retrieve the pills, placing the stolen bottles in her pocket.

Representatives for the store told Delray Beach police that Brown “has done this on numerous occasions …” She admitted during an interview to stealing 15 bottles of Alprazolam, each filled with 100 pills, according to reports.

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Alprazolam (more commonly known by the brand name Xanax) is prescribed to treat stress, anxiety, depression, panic disorders, and other purposes where a physician may deem its use appropriate. This potent medication is grouped into a family of prescription drugs known as benzodiazepines, which act on the central nervous system to produce a calming effect. When taken as directed, the medication will produce feelings of peace and tranquility, relaxation of the body and mind, and Improved sleep.

However, while alprazolam is effective in medical settings, it can create an addictive “high” that can lead to abuse of the drug, even by those who begin taking it with a legitimate prescription. Alprazolam abuse generally occurs in the cases of patients who have chronic pain, severe emotional instability or personality disorders, or a history of drug or alcohol dependence and/or abuse. Since it elicits a pleasant euphoria and other changed responses in the brain, users can become addicted to this feeling—using more and more in an attempt to recreate these effects. High doses of the medication are generally traded on the black market.

Drug diversion, which is the unlawful deflection or removal of prescription drugs from a pharmacy for personal use or illegal sale, is an area of growing concern for the retail industry. While the benefits of prescription medications greatly enhance the lives of millions worldwide, the lure of chemical enhancements and the powerful influence of dependency and addiction make drug diversion investigations notably complicated and unpredictable; and often dangerous. The compact size of most pharmaceuticals coupled with high street value and high demand make these investigations especially challenging.

Brown told police she was stealing the drugs on behalf of a man who lives in the Tampa area. She is facing two counts of possession of barbiturates and one count of grand theft. She was released from the Palm Beach County Jail after posting a $9,000 bond.

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