Government

More News | | | Editor

Georgia pain clinics face state crackdown

States trails region in curbing prescription medicine abuse

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 7:42 AM
Last updated 8:19 PM
  • Follow Government

ATLANTA – Legislation that would regulate pain-management clinics is headed for the House floor as Georgia becomes the last state in the region to crack down on the abuse of prescription medicine.

Monday, the House Health and Human Services Committee voted unanimously to pass House Bill 178. It would require pain clinics to register with the state, including any physician who gets more than half his income from giving patients painkillers. Also, only doctors could own new pain clinics.

Georgia has been flooded with pain clinics that indiscriminately distribute the powerful drugs – often to people from out of state – ever since Florida and surrounding states tightened their laws, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tom Weldon, R-Ringgold.

“I do want organized crime to know we’re coming after them,” he said.

Weldon said he was motivated by the fatal overdose of his assistant’s nephew. Other witnesses offered similar testimony.

Vanita Hullander, Catoosa County coroner, described how 20 of the 27 unnatural deaths she investigated last year in her small county were drug overdoses. Even more wound up hospitalized, she said, including her own daughter.

“I said, ‘how did this happen? Your father is a cop. You know better,’” Hullander said, noting that the girl used to help her mother study for emergency-medical training but got drawn in to addiction while seeking relief from a back injury.

Lilburn Police Chief Bruce Hedley told the committee he needed federal help breaking up a clinic in his town because state law provided nothing he could use, even as people were dying.

“You just have to go once to an accidental death to be committed to doing something about this,” he said.

Dr. Bruce Hines of Atlanta and a member of the Georgia Society of Interventional Pain Physicians spoke in favor of HB 178. He said some clinic operators may be allowing abuses out of ignorance and that having a state board composed of physicians overseeing them will result in reasonable oversight and better compliance.

“It’s going to assure that if you call yourself a pain physician, we’re going to regulate you,” he said.

Attorney General Sam Olens has made stopping what he calls pill mills a priority of his, lending staff lawyers to draft a bill modeled on the law Florida passed.

Comments (11) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
elyag0
37
Points
elyag0 02/13/13 - 08:53 am
5
1
pain management

At last they are stopping these pill clinic that are a joke. There are many other ways to help pain be sides Pills. The Dr's in these clinics stab you with steroids and give you pills that get you addicted. That keeps you coming back for more. This may give back families the sisters and brothers who are pill poppers. Just because you get a prescription for pill does not mean you are not a drug addict. YOU ARE

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 02/13/13 - 10:46 am
8
1
''You Can't Handle Real Back Pain!"

It's true, the bad always mess things up for the good! I am so sick and tired of people with their make-believe pains or injuries, moaning and groaning, and being able to get presciptions from doctors that only want to build up their bank accounts. I would trade 'backs' with any of the liars....then they would know what REAL BACK PAIN is!

rcandrews
127
Points
rcandrews 02/13/13 - 12:33 pm
4
2
Hmpf

So according to Sean Moore it is OK to be accusatory and insulting while making a generalized statement but whatever you do, don't accuse anyone directly of being stupid.

OK I got it now.

The First Amendment according to The Augusta Chronicle.

rcandrews
127
Points
rcandrews 02/13/13 - 12:20 pm
5
0
?

People who fake these things don't ALWAYS get anything. That is what they want you to believe.

It is simply not true.

rcandrews
127
Points
rcandrews 02/13/13 - 12:21 pm
6
0
The Truth

is a small minority of people and doctors abuse the system and like everything else the majority of people not doing that will be tossed under the bus to appease the simple minded.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 02/13/13 - 02:34 pm
5
3
Pain Clinics
Unpublished

Dope dealers and drug addicts will allways find a way to get together. Medical pot, pain clinics, what ever, put drug dealers in jail for life no matter what is at the end of their name.

really noway
23
Points
really noway 02/13/13 - 08:07 pm
4
2
oldredneckman96 please learn the facts

yep, throw in the pot smokers as the bad people. even knowing that pot has NEVER TAKEN A LIFE you can't od on pot.I'm for controlling the pain pills that kill people but don't put pot into the same category. That just isn't the case. We are putting people in jail and running their lives over weed. This is because of ignorant people that don't know the truth. Make drinking illegal it kills thousands of people.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 02/13/13 - 09:42 pm
6
0
Having had to deal

... with people close to me with pain issues --two terminal-- and once myself, I see this as the usual we-know-better-than-doctors bureaucrats cum stormtrooper approach to medicine. I DO seriously and maliciously hope these "regulators" find themselves in need of pain management, only to have it watered down or denied by doctors afraid of prosecution or some bean counter insurance flack.

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 02/13/13 - 10:07 pm
6
0
Chronic pain is the worst

And the abusers and pushers who make it so hard for true sufferers to get relief should be ashamed of themselves. Chronic crippling back pain drives us nearly to suicide, but there are meds that take the edge off. We don't abuse; in fact we ration them out when we have to take one or a half because we may not get more. I don't get "high" from it, but I can usually get up and do some housework, crawl in and out of the bath, ride to the grocery store. Things I used to take for granted. So yes get the criminals, and maybe we will get the meds we need to function.

Techfan
6462
Points
Techfan 02/14/13 - 07:41 am
1
3
People with chronic pain who

People with chronic pain who are on painkillers are addicts like diabetics are addicted to insulin. Please leave health care info to health care professionals.

allhans
24860
Points
allhans 02/14/13 - 08:29 am
0
1
As one with RA and having

As one with RA and having viewed my X Rays I see a spine going in all directions .... the connection with my neck on the left rather than center... Some disks completely fused together...Painful? YOU betcha! Pain killers?...a Motrin now and then.

Little Lamb
48907
Points
Little Lamb 02/14/13 - 08:31 am
0
0
Tough Guy Tom

Rep. Tom Weldon, R-Ringgold, said:

“I do want organized crime to know we’re coming after them.”

Yeah, I'm sure they're really shaking in their boots, Tom.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs