Pharmacy officials say robberies are occurring with greater frequency in Georgia. Ironically, the officials link the increase to the state’s recent success in cracking down on the scourge of “pill mills’’ in the state. Pill mills are clinics or doctor’s offices that prescribe oxycodone and other powerful narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose. Georgia became a pill mill magnet after neighboring states, including Florida, passed tougher laws regulating pain clinics.
Officials with the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency say a new database is expected to help doctors and law enforcement keep tabs on prescription drug abuse. Agency director Rick Allen said the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program has been available to pharmacists and physicians for less than a month, but already, 2,000 medical professionals have submitted prescriptions.
The Georgia House of Representatives has approved a proposal that calls for the state to license and regulate businesses that call themselves pain management clinics. The 150-15 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where similar legislation died last year.
Federal agents raided a pain clinic in Tucker Tuesday -- the second time in three weeks -- and arrested a doctor. Officials said Dr. Michael Assevero was charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone during the raid at Southern Health Management.
The problem of prescription drug abuse and illegal dispensing of drugs is exploding in Georgia. On Wednesday, there was a call to action for the medical community and law enforcement. Officials on the state and federal level gathered in Atlanta for a summit to brainstorm ways to attack the issue.
Federal prosecutors have organized a summit to highlight the growth of prescription drug abuse and addiction in Georgia. Wednesday's gathering comes amid an effort by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta to crack down on so-called "pill mills" that make it easy for drug abusers to obtain the medications.