If you’ve been around Downtown Langley lately, you’ll have noticed that there is a proliferation of pharmacies. In the last several months a Shoppers Drug Mart, Pharmasave, and IDA have opened or will be opening shortly in Downtown Langley. It is almost to the point where you could walk blindfolded and end up in a pharmacy.
Langley City has a larger than average seniors population and also a larger than average population of people who live on lower incomes. Even with a large population of seniors, I found it a bit odd that Downtown Langley could support so many pharmacies. It turns out that filling prescription may not be the primary profit generator for these pharmacies.
Langley City Council received a letter from the Downtown Langley Business Association expressing concerns about the recent influx of pharmacies in the area.
Many downtown businesses have witnessed the dispensing of methadone in some of these pharmacies, and we believe this is one of the main reasons for this increase. While we acknowledge the need for methadone maintenance treatment services offered in the community, the concentration of these pharmacies in the downtown present several concerns to us including:
-Becoming a hub for methadone treatment from other communities
-Increased loitering and impact on neighboring business
-Increased homeless population and illegal drug activity
The Downtown Langley Business Association would like City Council to consider taking actions to regulate pharmacies in the area.
One of the things City Council could do is prevent further pharmacies from opening in Downtown Langley, but they couldn’t prevent current pharmacies from operating.
Downtown Langley will have 13 pharmacy in operation shortly; a moratorium to prevent further pharmacies may be worth considering, but the City, the Downtown Business Association, and current pharmacy owners will need to work together to address the three listed concerns.
Monitoring loitering and illegal activity in Downtown Langley will certainly need to be part of any action plan, but this will cost money. The trick will be for all three parity to work together to address these concerns without place too much extra burden on the City's already tight operating budget.