See updates to this story:
Jan. 28, 2:30 p.m.: Charges Announced for Four Arrested in Lilburn 'Pill Mill' Operation
Jan. 25, 6 p.m.: Police Chief: No. 1 Priority 'To Dismantle That Illegal Enterprise'
Law enforcement officials raided Thursday a Lilburn pain management clinic suspected of dispensing prescription medicine illegally, according to a Fox 5 Atlanta report.
In addition, the report showed that Dr. George Williams was arrested and is suspected of running the clinic as an illegal operation under the name of Premier Medical, located at 3993 Lawrenceville Highway. The location abuts Berkmar High School.
Federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, members of the Gwinnett Metro Narcotics Task Force and the Lilburn Police Department were part of the Jan. 24 raid.
Patch first learned of the suspected pain clinic in August, when Lilburn City Council passed an ordinance making it tougher for so-called pill mills to operate within city limits.
Typically, these pill mills have been found to dispense illegal amounts of oxycodone or hydrocodone to dealers and drug addicts in exchange for cash payments.
Following the city council's action, an anonymous tipster forwarded information to Patch regarding concerns about Premier Medical. The tipster said many suspicious vehicles parked at the clinic, making the parking lot overflow at times. The person also complained to local and county police.
"Don't know what else to do," the Patch reader said. "We can't put up with places like that, and especially so near our schools."
"We do not want this in the community," the person also said.
When Patch visited the clinic last year, numerous vehicles with out-of-state tags and an armed guard where present. One patient asked if a Patch editor knew how to get back to Ohio.
Patch subsequently followed up with Lilburn Police officials, who said they were looking into it. Not until Thursday, were federal officials able to make an arrest in connection with the suspected pill mill.
Pill mills are increasingly becoming a problem in Georgia, as Florida's tough crackdown of the practice runs shady doctors, and business operators, across the border.
Georgia officials aren't exactly making it a tough choice.
According to a December Wall Street Journal report, Georgia has no law requiring pain clinics to be owned by medical professionals, no law empowering the state's medical board to punish crooked clinic operators and doctors and no database tracking the number of prescriptions each clinic writes.
That's why Lilburn's effort to pass strict requirements for pain management clinics became essential.
"They're spreading pure poison into the community, nothing short of that," Police Chief Bruce Hedley said previously about illegal pain clinics. "That's my opinion."
Among other things, the city's ordinance requires that pain clinics be run by a board-eligible physician with pain management fellowship training or certification, or a hospital-affiliated clinic managed by such a person.
A business found to be not in agreement with the city's rules faces suspension of its business license or revocation.
-- Do you think federal, state and local officials are doing enough to eliminate pill mills? Let us know in the comment section. --
Patch will follow up on this story as more information develops.