According to Weldon ,”Pill mills promote and prolong addiction without giving patients the medical care they need.” Weldon was motivated by the rapid increase in mountain-area pill mills following tighter restrictions in surrounding states. Florida passed both a ‘pill mill’ bill and a prescription monitoring bill (PMP) to address what was often referred to as the “Oxy Express” (prescription drug trafficking from Florida through Appalachia” ) Policy makers in Florida deem both legislative remedies necessary and credit the two provisions working in tandem for significant decreases in addiction, crime, and drug-related deaths.
According to Rick Allen, Director of the Georgia Drug and Narcotics Agency, pill mills are often run by an organized network of criminals. Allen, whose agency is empowered to temporarily close down such clinics, worked with Weldon to pass legislation forming Georgia’s PMP. GDNA received a federal grant to implement the program but lacks sufficient matching state funds to build and sustain it.
The “Georgia Pain Management Clinic Act” passed both the House and Senate in different forms during the 2012 session but minor disagreements between the two chambers caused the bill to expire by the final day of the session.
Weldon, who also chairs the House Juvenile Justice Committee, is determined to address the drug addiction epidemic which plagues Georgia’s correctional systems. “Pill mills are part of a larger problem which involves the over-prescribing of increasingly more potent drugs. Once addicted, kids desperate to have the drug go onto other drugs or begin a life of crime. They often suffer a lifetime, if they survive.”
The young attorney and father of four has acquired a reputation at the capitol for his unapologetic protection of mountain areas and culture. “Transient drug traffickers are entering quiet, clean small towns and preying on our young people for profit.”
Pam O’Dell provides news on state government through, The O’Dell Report in newspapers in North Georgia and her blog. She can be contacted at email@example.com.]
Signs that a clinic is a ‘pill mill’
•They accept cash only
•No physical exam is given
•No medical records exist and diagnostic equip ment is fake or non-existent
•Pharmacy is on-site
•Other forms of treatment (such as physical therapy) are not addressed
•A set number of pills are prescribed and patients are advised a future date to return
•Security guards are present
•Large waiting lines and short, hurried visits