Coheed and Cambria’s bass player robbed a Walgreen’s of OxyContin – shortly before he was due to go onstage in Mansfield Massachusetts.
The addictive nature of certain prescription drugs was in the headlines again this week when rock musician Michael Todd was arrested for allegedly robbing a Massachusetts pharmacy.
The 30-year-old bass player from Anaheim was on tour with the rock band Coheed and Cambria. He is reported to have robbed a Walgreens just a few hours before his band was scheduled to be the opening act for Soundgarden at the Comcast Center in Mansfield.
Another victim of the opiate epidemic – Michael Todd, Bass Player for Coheed and Cambria
According to the Rolling Stone website, Green showed the pharmacist a text message on his Blackberry that threatened to detonate a bomb if he wasn’t given OxyContin. When the pharmacist said she didn’t have the drug, he asked for 30-milligram Percocet pills. He fled the store after she gave him several bottles of oxycodone (the main ingredient in both Percocet and Oxycontin).
Following the robbery, witnesses reported seeing a man run from the store and enter a cab. Police were able to track the cab to the Coheed and Cambria tour bus and confronted Todd before the show began. He initially denied involvement in the robbery but surrendered to authorities after being shown incriminating surveillance photos. Todd has been charged with armed robber and drug possession. His bail was initially set at $10,000 but was raised at his arraignment to $25,000 due to his prior criminal record and out-of-state address.
Todd’s actions may seem baffling, but they are familiar to law enforcement officials who work on the front lines of the prescription drug war. In the past 3 years, at least 1,800 U.S. pharmacies have been robbed, mostly by young males who are desperate for opioid painkillers including Vicodin as well as OxyContin and Percocet. Many pharmacies have taken defensive measures such as installing bulletproof glass. Some pharmacists now keep a gun behind the store counter, while others have posted signs saying they no longer stock OxyContin.
According to Dr. Dan Alford, Boston University associate professor of medicine, Todd was desperate for drugs because he was trying to avoid the pain of withdrawal. “Although people say you don’t die from opioid withdrawal, if you can imagine the worst flu of your life, and you can take something immediately and feel totally back to normal, there’s a tremendous drive to prevent feeling sick.”
Michael Todd was convicted of drug possession in 2004 and was recently found guilty of driving under the influence. In 2006 he took a leave of absence from Coheed and Cambria to seek treatment for heroin addiction. The band has replaced him for the remainder of their East Coast tour. Unable to post bond, he currently remains in custody pending a preliminary hearing on August 9.