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The Georgia Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Initiative (GPDAPI) is committed to being a catalyst for advocacy in terms of policy education (not lobbying) about legislative efforts and in terms of the implementation of any current laws that seek to protect Georgia’s citizens from prescription drug misuse and abuse. Please find information below that addresses current policy education opportunities involving legislation related to prescription drug abuse prevention. To learn helpful tips and information on how to communicate with the Georgia General Assembly please click here.

2014 Georgia General Assembly Legislative Session

1. Senator Buddy Carter will once again sponsor Senate Bill 134, (see below for details) a bill needed to keep Georgia’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) online. He is seeking a “clean” bill without amendments to make its passage easier. Since the Senate passed the bill last session, it only needs to be passed by the House this year to become law. The bill did not pass through the House on the last day of the 2013 session because an amendment was added on to the bill at the last moment.

2. Something not requiring legislation, but rather a budgetary process, is asking the state to fund, at least partially, the PDMP.

3. Medical Marijuana

A number of Georgia pro-marijuana associations (legalizers) have stated their desire to acquire the services of a lobbyist to help find a sponsor for a broader medical marijuana bill to open the way for eventual recreational use. Georgia already has a medical marijuana bill passed in the early 80s, but it is much more restrictive that the legalizers would like.

In Colorado approximately 3% of persons with a marijuana registry identification card have justifiable medical reasons for its use. Since its airing on CNN, the Sanjay Gupta CNN special, “Weed” has been serving as a catalyst for the legalization movement in the United States, including Georgia.

Senate Bill 134 (Passed the Senate but not the House in the 2013 Session – seeking House approval in 2014)

Main Author: Senator Buddy Carter

  1. This bill will allow prescribers (mainly physicians) to share Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) data with other states. It seeks to change the definition of “prescriber” in the Georgia Patient Safety Act to include physicians in other states.
  1. The PDMP became operational in May, 2013 but needs Federal funding to survive after September 30, 2014. To be eligible to apply for Federal funding a state must be willing to allow their prescribers (mainly physicians) to share data with physicians from other states.
  1. Georgia passed the Georgia Patient Safety Act in 2011, but since then has not provided any state funds to fund it. Georgia risks the loss of its only current source of funding in September, 2014 to keep the PDMP online if Georgia law is not amended to include physicians being able to share information with other states.
  1. Another very important benefit of allowing physicians to share data with physicians from other states is that it allows Georgia to keep much better track of doctor shoppers coming into our state from other states.
  1. Georgia was the last state in the Southeast to get their PDMP operational, making Georgia the path of least resistance for those seeking to abuse the system. We are probably still suffering from being last, since in June, 2013 alone over 2 million prescriptions for scheduled drugs were dispensed in Georgia!
  1. South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama all permit the sharing of their PDMP data with other states.

Summary of Legislation that passed during the 2013 Session of the Georgia General Assembly:

Georgia Pain Management Clinic Act (formerly House Bill 178)
Purpose: To close down Pill Mills in Georgia

Main Author: Rep. Tom Weldon – Ringgold, Georgia

  • Law went into effect on July 1, 2013
  • Requires all Pain Management Clinics to be licensed and regulated by the Georgia Composite Medical Board.
  • License will have to be renewed every 2 years
  • 'Pain management clinic' means a medical practice advertising 'treatment of pain' or utilizing 'pain' in the name of the clinic or a medical practice or clinic with greater than 50 percent of its annual patient population being treated for chronic pain for nonterminal conditions by the use of Schedule II or III controlled substances.
  • Will close down Pill Mills by not allowing license to be issued in the first place or suspending or revoking existing licenses.
  • All pain management clinics that opened after June 30, 2013 have to be owned by a physician licensed in Georgia. Unfortunately, however, clinics in existence as of June 30, 2013 are not subject to this section of the Act. They were “grandfathered” in.

House Bill 209 (As passed by the House and Senate)
Main Author:
Dr. Ben Watson – Savannah

1. Amended Georgia’s current Patient Safety Act allowing Georgia to share data with dispensers (i.e. mainly pharmacists) in other states and countries regarding the dispensing of prescription drugs containing controlled substances. (Section 10)

Allows Georgia pharmacists to know if a customer or prospective customer has been dispensed scheduled drugs in other states provided those other states passed a law allowing such sharing of data.

2. Requires any person, pharmacy or facility outside of Georgia to apply to the Georgia Pharmacy Board for a Nonresident Pharmacy Permit. The permit must be renewed every two years. (Section 8)

Without the permit they will not be allowed to ship, mail or deliver dispensed dangerous drugs and controlled substances. Entails a background investigation of applicants.

Bill created because it has been much too easy for people in Georgia to order dangerous prescription drugs and controlled substances over the internet or through the mail (mail order). This bill will require an application and permit from any one or any facility that seeks to mail dangerous or prescription drugs to people in Georgia.

Monitoring (PDMP)

The Georgia Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Initiative (GPDAPI) is committed to being a catalyst for the implementation of Georgia’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) and the Patient Safety Act.

Georgia’s Patient Safety Act of 2011/PDMP

In May of 2011 Governor Nathan Deal signed into law the Patient Safety Act, making Georgia one of the last states in the nation to provide legislation for the implementation of a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to combat the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. To read the entire bill as passed please click here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20112012/116656.pdf or click here for a quick view of a pdf version of the Patient Safety Act. 

To read Senator Buddy Carter’s article explaining the Patient Safety Act click here: www.bryancountynews.net/archives/13387/.

To watch a video of Senator Buddy Carter explaining the Patient Safety Act please click here.

Senator Buddy Carter can be reached at Coverdell Legislative Office Building (C.L.O.B.) Room 301-A, Atlanta, GA, 30334. His Capitol office number is 404-656-5109.

Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies To Stop The Epidemic 2013

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. In October of 2013 TFAH released a 55 page report entitled, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies To Stop The Epidemic 2013, which you can access by clicking HERE or you can click on this link http://healthyamericans.org/reports/drugabuse2013/TFAH2013RxDrugAbuseRpt12_no_embargo.pdf to read the full report. The report begins by emphasizing the use of PDMPs and increased legislation and concludes with the need to expand programs to enable proper disposal. The report also talks about the need for increased provide and public education efforts as well as the need for increased rescue medicine availability.

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