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But there is one type of business that seems to thrive: pharmacies.

Eleven drug stores, mostly independents, are scattered about a tiny city of 1,500 people. Many have opened in the past decade — four in the past three years. And prescription pain drugs are one of the best-selling items — the very best seller at some.

Most pharmacies here and in surrounding Clay County (population 21,000) lack the convenience-store trappings of national chains like CVS or Walgreen’s. They sell few items over the counter, focusing on prescriptions and little else.

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Image: De Anke Lüdtke – photo taken by Anke Lüdtke, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=289329

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