While local and national media outlets frequently report on food deserts, particularly in cities that lack sufficient grocery stores, there is one major shortage that goes largely unnoticed by the press: pharmacies.
“Pharmacy deserts” pose a real threat, particularly for vulnerable populations. This is something I’ve seen firsthand. Last year, the Rite Aid in my neighborhood in Riverside, California, closed down and was boarded up for good. It came as no surprise, as it had been repeatedly robbed. A few months ago, it reopened as a shoe store. (READ MORE: See How Bad Gavin Newsom Let Crime Get in California)
The pharmacy’s closure is just a minor inconvenience for me; I can order meds or simply make the extra five-minute drive to the Rite Aid in Canyon Crest, which is a safer neighborhood anyway. But for a friend of mine, who years ago was hit by a car that broke her legs and hip, leaving her tied to a walker, it’s more serious. My friend, who was formally homeless, now lives in a halfway house. Ordering meds to her door has never been a secure option. Now, with the pharmacy closed, she relies on friends, Uber, or city services to get the medication she needs.