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PTC aims at unscrupulous pain pill pushers

The Peachtree City Council instituted a one-year ban on “pain management clinics” Thursday night, but officials insisted the effort will only stave off unscrupulous operations notorious for attracting junkies, while allowing similar legitimate businesses to remain in place.

In fact, Peachtree City has already seen one such operation but managed to shut it down about six months ago, Police Chief Skip Clark told council. The scheme attracted patients almost exclusively from outside the city, and in some cases even from outside the state of Georgia, Clark said.

In the case of this company, which set up shop in a local shopping center, the patients would be given a prescription that would be filled at another location owned by the same company, and not a pharmacy, Clark said.

The city is hopeful the matter will be addressed by the legislature this year. Clark noted that Georgia, unlike other states, does not have a centralized computer system to determine if a citizen is filling multiple prescriptions at the same time.

This particular clinic, with the exception of a few days, didn’t even have a licensed doctor on the premises, Clark said. Plus, in addition to not honoring any medical insurance plans, such companies typically require payment to be by cash, he added.

At a legitimate clinic for treatment of patients, typically a patient will see a doctor or physician’s assistant and be evaluated, Clark said.

“That’s not what’s happening ... people are going in to get their prescription renewed, paying their money and they’re on their way,” Clark said.

The legislation passed by the city does not forbid pain management clinics that are affiliated with a hospital, hospice, or any facility that treats those who are terminally ill or have drug addictions, according to City Attorney Ted Meeker.

Businesses falling outside the bounds of that definition will still be allowed to operate, as long as they do not fill or dispense the pain medication prescriptions either on or off-site.

Councilman Eric Imker said he was wary of legislating against legitimate businesses. Meeker replied that any person who is denied an occupational tax certificate under the law can petition the City Council to lift the moratorium for that one specific business.

In fact, staff most likely will be making the initial determination on whether the moratorium applies to a new business or existing business re-applying for their annual tax certificate.

Meeker explained that he once had back trouble and was seen by a company he thinks was called Pain Consultants of Atlanta.

“My recollection of the services offered in that business, I don’t think they technically would fall per se under what we’re prohibiting tonight,” Meeker said.

Mayor Don Haddix said he “had a very valuable experience with pain doctors” and didn’t want to see legitimate clinics outlawed from operating in the city.

“Those doctors are taking insurance, and not just giving you a prescription and taking your credit card,” Clark said. “They’re actually examining you and keeping medical records.”

The resolution to adopt the moratorium was unanimously approved by council.



How about adopting a city policy stating you will inform those seeking a business license for pain management clinics that you will assist the DEA in any way possible to ensure they are legitimate.

Did you even consult any experts in pain management? I am curious about the details, and I mean specifics not mentioned yet, in which you consider a clinic legitimate. You mention hospital affiliation. That isn't necessary at all to have a very reputable clinic. I would also like to read more about the aforementioned clinic that was shut down six months ago. Who shut it down? Isn't that proof that we already have strict laws in place?

Being a chiropractor, I am very anti "pill pusher"; however, the city has grossly usurped the role of the DEA. You people in city government remind me of the baffoons in Washington who just can't leave well enough alone.

John Giovanelli DC

they are advertising a bust on a pain management clinic in Fla.

The laws are very strict against these rackets. There are no loopholes that enable non licensed healthcare professionals to prescribe narcotics. Reputable doctors who have good reason to prescribe them often won't because of the strict scrutiny by the DEA.

Doesn't it bother anyone else that our city council and mayor are taking on health care? It's typical government interference - legislators with no product knowledge are engaging in nonsense, knee-jerk reactions.

If you government people want to do something useful, look for antiquated laws and ordinances that you can eliminate. Stop imposing this nonsense and have faith in law enforcement.

John Giovanelli DC

PTC Observer's picture

Our mayor has higher aspirations in politics.

Interfering in people's lives and regulation of business requires apprenticeship.

Looks like his will be right here in PTC. I wonder what the next bright idea will be?

Seems to me that you have the right idea about government interference in our lives. Why don't you run for Mayor and stop this nonsense?

I stink at math and have too many skeletons to run for anything. Nevertheless, I was blessed with other academic skills and some common sense.

Fortunately for the good people of Peachtree City I know my strengths and weaknesses and would never run. Thanks though.

What makes you think the being bad at math and having skeletons hidden means that you couldn't be a politician? You just have to be cocky and self assured.

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