Bill aims at cracking down on prescription pill abusers



ATLANTA - A new Georgia bill aims at cracking down on prescription pill abusers, who travel to Georgia to get prescriptions for narcotics filled.

Pharmacists told Channel 2 Action News they are seeing hundreds of drug addicts and pill pushers coming from out of state to local pharmacies, because of lax regulations.

"Ninety nine percent have an out of state tag, from Kentucky, Ohio, from Tennessee, 99 percent," said Bobby Harrell, who is a pharmacist at Briarcliff Pharmacy.

Harrell said he won't even fill prescription for certain narcotics that include oxycontin, the problem has gotten so bad.

Unlike most states, Georgia's newly implemented prescription drug monitoring database does not link with other states.

The database allows doctors and pharmacists to check up on patients, who try to "pharmacy shop" or "doctor shop" — but only within the state of Georgia.

"Just tell them you are hurting real bad, pay the money out of your pocket, convince them you are hurting, and it's pretty easy to get it," said Bruce Underwood, who is a recovered prescription pill addict. Underwood, who is a retired police officers, says he knew of every so-called pill mill in area.

"In the Marietta, Cobb County, Kennesaw area you probably got seven or eight of them from where we are speaking from today," Underwood told Channel 2's Rachel Stockman

"It's really bad when you have government that doesn't care," Underwood said.

State Sen. Buddy Carter, R- Savannah, said his legislation would allow pharmacists and doctors in Georgia the ability to see if patients are also getting the same prescriptions from doctors out of state.

"It will put a stop to people who are using doctors from other states, and pharmacies from other states," Carter said.