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Pharmacies worry over stomach drug theft

The coveted drugs that have been stolen contain loperamide and are used to treat diarrhea. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Large quantities of stomach medicine that could be used to get high are disappearing from pharmacies all over Sweden, news agency TT reports. Many pharmacies have reported instances of shoplifting and have alerted both the police and the Swedish Medical Products Agency.

The coveted drugs that have been stolen contain loperamide and are used to treat diarrhea. If taken in high doses the drug can have a numbing and slightly euphoric effect similar to, but much weaker than, morphine.

"We've noticed that these drugs disappear from our shelves, so we've tried to solve the problem by keeping them behind the counter for now," says David Cambert Berglund at the Kronans Apotek pharmacy.

According to a pharmaceutical newsletter other pharmacies have had similar problems, but Maria Cserhalmi Andersson, press spokesperson at Apokteket AB is not worried.

"I'm sure that this happens from time to time, but you can't just buy or steal large quantities of antidiarrheals without attracting suspicion," Cserhalmi Andersson says.

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