MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The destruction and looting on Lake Street left neighborhoods nearby in a pharmacy shortage.

People are now finding themselves looking beyond south Minneapolis for important medications.

“There’s a void now on numerous, small communities,” said Mary who lives a few blocks from Lake Street.

Just over a week ago, people needing a prescription had options up and down Lake Street. Now, those options are gone — looted or destroyed altogether.

“I am looking forward to it getting rebuilt and getting back to normal,” said Mary.

In the meantime, pharmacies outside of the neighborhood are stepping up.

“Our phone call volume went up by about 35%. We are definitely seeing an increase in the number of patients calling, needing help, finding a pharmacy to fill their needs,” said Amanda Elliot.

Elliot works at the Allina Health Heart Hospital pharmacy, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital- one of the few pharmacies in the area. They had reduced their staff during the pandemic, but since the destruction on Lake Street, they are back to full strength to keep up with demand.

“We are seeing everything. Maintenance medications, cardiovascular meds, mental health meds, meds for diabetes, across-the-board. But definitely necessary medications,” said Elliot.

It’s unclear when pharmacies, like the Walgreens that was destroyed, will rebuild and reopen. Which means getting medications from other locations to this neighborhood has become vital.

“We do offer free mail service. We can mail to people. What we’ve been told is mail is back up and running in affected neighborhoods,” said Elliot.

They are also leaning on some of their pharmacies in the suburbs for help. Offering their own sort of remedy during a difficult time.

“It’s been challenging. It’s been hard. We’ve been open the entire time. It’s been challenging on many levels but we understand our role and it gives us a sense of purpose to help everyone in the community,” said Elliot.

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