Dunwoody officials want to keep so-called “pill mills” out of their city.
“It’s an issue that seems to be increasing quite significantly across the country,” said Dunwoody Mayor Ken Wright.
The city council is considering an ordinance that regulates all pain management clinics that dispense controlled substances. A public hearing on the ordinance will be held March 28.
Last year in Kennesaw, a pain clinic wrote prescriptions for 32,000 oxycodone pills in the first 16 days of operation, Dunwoody officials said. Within a short time period, local pharmacies had run out of Schedule II controlled, pain medications.
In Cartersville, a pain clinic opened and within seven month, a local pharmacy supplied 60,000 oxycodone pills compared to 1,000 during the same period the previous year.
After state legislation failed last year that would have established a prescription monitoring program in Georgia, several jurisdictions, including Dunwoody, passed resolutions establishing a temporary moratorium on pain management clinics.
The program would have required prescription data to be submitted to a statewide database to assist in deterring the illegitimate use of prescription drugs.
Most states have prescription monitoring programs and legislation. Only Montana, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Maryland and Georgia do not.
In October 2010, Dunwoody’s city council issued a 90-day moratorium to give the city time to analyze the impact of pain management clinics and to consider whether regulation of these clinics is necessary.
According to the ordinance, the city’s research discovered that pain clinics which dispense controlled medication “are often dispensing pain medications to those claiming pain, without performing proper and thorough examinations of said patients and their medical records.” These clinics often do not make proper medical diagnoss and sometimes are not operated by licensed physicians.
The ordinance requires pain management clinics to apply for an occupation tax certificate. Applicants must provide the name and United States Drug Enforcement Administration number of every licensed physician associated with the business. All physicians associated with the business must have valid licenses.
A pain management clinic will not be eligible for an occupation tax certificate if any convicted felon owns, manages, directs, has a financial interest in, or is an officer or partner of the business, according to the ordinance. Physicians associated with business cannot be on probation or suspension by any medical board for issues related to dispensing drugs.