Now even real estate agents are being impacted by the crisis.
REALTORS® who deal with mostly high-end properties may feel a greater sense of security on the job, but with the growth of opioid abuse, they may have a higher risk of running into drug addicts, according to a report by CNBC and the National Association of REALTORS®.
Posing as potential homebuyers, addicts are booking house tours to gain access to prescription drugs in medicine cabinets.
“When you’re talking about potentially opening up access to a home … that is listed for sale, with doing no vetting or checking of an individual, I think we’re feeding into that crisis by creating these channels of easy access to drugs,” said James Reilly to CNBC. Reilly is CEO of Forewarn, a company that offers licensed real estate agents an app that performs instant background checks.
Janice Tisdale, a San Antonio real estate agent, was attacked and held hostage by a man on drugs while showing a $750,000 home in December 2010.
Posing as a homebuyer the man told her, “I need money from you right now.” Tisdale responded that she had “a closing on Monday and it’s a big one, so if you can wait until Monday I can get you $4,000.”
“I have no idea why I said that to him,” said the agent, who was 64 at the time, “but I was saying anything to him to just go and leave and not kill me.”
She fled the house after persuading the man to get paper from his car, for a note she promised to write saying she hadn’t been held hostage. He’s now serving 60 years in prison for aggravated robbery, admitting to being on drugs at the time of the attack.
“I guess I always thought I was aware but you never think it’s going to happen to you and it does, it can, and it did,” said Tisdale.
Most real estate firms require their agents attend safety training, yet not all run background checks on potential clients.