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‘Pharmacy deserts’ a growing health concern in Chicago, experts, residents say – Drug for nerve pain boosts high for opioid abusers. (866) 348-2889

Public health experts say that growing parts of more than a dozen poor neighborhoods in Chicago, primarily on the city’s South and West sides, are becoming “pharmacy deserts,” having limited access to a pharmacy. Research indicates that many of these neighborhoods in Chicago have a mix of characteristics, including having residents who tend to be low income, immigrants, and/or African American or Latino. Experts note that considering the expanding scope of services many pharmacies provide, they are increasingly important parts of the national health care conversation. “A lot of public attention focuses on insurance, but that’s not enough,” said Dima Qato, an assistant professor in the department of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who has studied pharmacy access for years.