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City of Milton refills moratorium on 'pill mills'

October 10, 2012
MILTON, Ga. — The city of Milton again placed a hold on pain management businesses within its borders while state legislators debate how to enforce these clinics.

Pain management clinics, or "pill mills," have been a contentious issue in Milton because the business is often associated with increased crime and narcotic distribution.

The moratorium was initially enacted in May 2011.

This time, the moratorium was unanimously extended until the end of the year by the Milton City Council at their Oct.1 meeting.

City Attorney Ken Jarrard recommended the 60-day moratorium and then another 90-day moratorium through legal advertising.

The city wants to wait and see potential legislation the state of Georgia has for 2013.

"There's a lot of sense to be made of pulling back a little bit and perhaps taking a look and seeing what Georgia does," Jarrard said.

In January 2013, there will be a prescription drug monitoring program available online for physicians to be able to link doctors to patients and prescriptions and see if there are any signs of abuse, said Jarrard.

Also, the Georgia Composite Medical Board is adopting new regulations that say if more than 50 percent of patients at a pain management clinic are being treated for chronic pain, the clinic must get recertified for chronic pain treatment.

Councilmember Karen Thurman asked if this proposed moratorium meant that there was no way a reputable pain management specialist could come into the city if they were interested before 2013.

"Right now, that's true," Jarrard said. "But this is only 60 days. Quite frankly, if there was one we wanted to take a second look at, we could end the moratorium early and craft some language around that. So we could address it."

Also at the meeting:

Council members are trying to define exotic animals to allow them in the city's agricultural district (AG-1).

The issue was first discussed at a planning commission meeting on Sept. 25. Planners were tasked with addressing exotic animals because of a Hopewell Road resident who has cared for and sometimes rehabbed animals for nearly 20 years at the property.

Changes would include a 6-foot fence added to a property with exotic animals. The number of animals would have to be reported to the community development director and the applicant for such a permit would have to comply with federal fish and wildlife permits as well.

The city is getting involved to allow for a land use permit but not the enforcement, which is carried out by state and federal agencies.

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