Pain management clinics will have a tougher time popping up in Lilburn, due to new rules city council approved on Monday.
The new ordinance, several pages in length, identifies what pain management clinics are, how they should apply for a permit in Lilburn, how they should operate and what the penalties are for those who do not follow the rules.
It was approved unanimously, 3-0.
It's not the legitimate doctors the city is going after, but rather prescription peddlers, who bypass insurance verifications and get patients from many miles away.
"These pain clinics that we're talking about have one modality, and that's put the cash on the table and you get 180 hydrocodone or the drug of your choice," said councilmember Dr. Scott Batterton, during the city council work session on Aug. 13.
Other cities across the nation have adopted similar, strict rules for pain management clinics. Specifically, Lilburn looked at those created by Kennesaw, which has had its own battle with pill mills.
Currently, no pill mill law exists in Georgia, making it the responsibility of city leaders to do what they can with ordinances. City Attorney Richard Carothers described Georgia as "woefully behind" in crippling the growing problem.
Police Chief Bruce Hedley approved of the new measure, adding that deaths from prescription pain medications outpace those from injuries in accidents now. And, in Georgia, the rate is "alarming."
"They're spreading pure poison into the community, nothing short of that," he said during the city council work session. "That's my opinion."
Hence, Lilburn City Council's new ordinance.
Among other items, new business license requirements include:
- Interested parties must obtain a city-issued, annual pain management clinic license, which must be applied for in person.
- Applicants must be a board-eligible physician with pain management fellowship training or certification, or a hospital-affiliated clinic managed by such a person.
- There must be a sworn statement on record that the applicant, any business partners or staff have not been convicted of, pleaded guilty to or nolo contendre to a felony in any state within the past five years.
- There must be a sworn statement on record of whether the applicant, any business partners or staff have been involved in an investigation (as subject or witness) regarding dispensing or prescribing of medicine.
- A number of other documents, including the Drug Enforcement Administration number given to those dispensing drugs, must accompany the application.
- Background checks must be completed before a license can be issued.
Once a license is issued prohibited acts, among others include not operating within:
- 2,500 feet of another pain management clinic
- 500 feet of a business that sales alcohol
- 500 feet of a sexually orientated business
- 500 feet of a pawn shop
A business found to be not in agreement with the city's rules faces suspension of its business license or revocation.
Speak out: What do you think of the city's stance and new rules regarding pain management clinics? Let us know in the comment section!