Courtesy Jonathan Copsey; The Milton Herald
February 24, 2012
MILTON, Ga. – The city extended its moratorium on pain management clinics - "pill mills" - to Aug. 8 in an effort to head off any potential problems in the city.
"Pill mills" are associated with increased crime and narcotic distribution, said City Attorney Ken Jarrard at the time the moratorium was initially enacted in May of 2011. They are not legitimate pharmacies, he said, instead catering to people who claim they need medication immediately and without doctor prescriptions.
The ordinance explains that the typical pain clinic "has little or no interest in treating pain or the symptom of pain, but is interested in only dispensing prescription pain medication with little or no diagnosis of the patient."
The moratorium was necessary, explained Jarrard at the time, because of a ruling in Broward County, Fla., which found the number of pain clinics in south Florida exploded from 66 to 176 between August 2008 and November 2009 and that over nine million doses of Oxycodone were prescribed during that time, the vast majority of which were in Broward.
Between 2005 and 2007, the number of Americans using non-medical prescriptions for opioids or analgesics increased over 50 percent, and was particularly prominent in young people.
The moratorium is to remain in place until the state legislature comes up with regulations dealing with the businesses. The legislature has taken some action on the issue, opting to create a statewide database of those with prescriptions. This database is several years away from being enacted.
The moratorium was initially imposed May 2, 2011 after national trends showed an increase in the abuse of prescription medication.
"It's a real and growing problem with respect to addiction," said Jarrard of the clinics.
There are no pain clinics in Milton, nor are there applications for any. City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said this was a proactive effort to head off any applications.