Bryan Cohen Mar. 22, 2013, 7:23pm

ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) - Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens announced Thursday the Georgia Senate approved H.B. 178 to fight the operation of illicit pill mills and prescription drug abuse in the state.

The House of Representatives approved the bill last month, which would give the Georgia Composite Medical Board the authority to regulate and license pain management clinics. The Senate passed the legislation without amendments and the bill will now head to Governor Nathan Deal's office.

Olens praised the Senate's passage of the bill to fight the growth of pill mills and drug abuse throughout Georgia.

"I commend the Georgia General Assembly for taking action to curtail the rapid growth of pill mills in Georgia," Olens said. "Pill mill operators are nothing more than narcotic traffickers, and we will not tolerate them in our state. H.B. 178 strikes a balance that will allow us to identify and curb bad actors without getting in the way of the many excellent doctors who offer legitimate pain management to patients."

Other states, including Florida, have passed bills to fight the spread of pill mills, causing the operations to relocate to Georgia. The new legislation would give state law enforcement the ability to fight the worsening problem.

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