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Local program takes aim at 'pill mills'
Drug Free Coalition combats perscription drug abuse
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Georgia Bureau of Investigations agent Chuck Sullinger speaks Tuesday about local and state law enforcement's efforts to crack down on pill mills during the Bryan County Drug Free Coalition's campaign kick off in Pembroke. - photo by Caitlyn Boza

The Bryan County Drug Free Coalition (BCDFC) and the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) Foundation kicked off a joint campaign Tuesday in Pembroke to combat prescription drug abuse in Bryan County.
According to the Center for Disease Control, prescription drugs like Vicodin and Oxycodone have been responsible for nearly six times as many deaths in Georgia from 2004-2008 as illegal drugs.
“Prescription medication has become one of our major issues, not just in Bryan County but in the nation,” said BCDFC grant administrator and former Bryan County High School principal Kay Hughes. “Emergency room visits and deaths resulting from overdoses have really increased in the last few years.”
The anti-drug program will take a three-pronged approach to curbing prescription drug abuse: legislation; education; and proper disposal of unused medication.
Georgia state Sen. Buddy Carter, who is a pharmacist by trade, took the opportunity to promote a recently passed law that will implement a statewide drug monitoring system to aid in identifying prescription drug abusers.
“Physicians and dispensers will have access to this website to see who is getting these prescriptions, and that’ll be a great tool for us to use,” he said. “It’ll be wonderful for us to be able to look and say, ‘Well, wait a minute, John Doe. You just got Xanax, Oxycodone and Soma filled two days ago in the Atlanta area, and now you’re trying to get them down here?’ That raises a red flag.”
The online system is scheduled to launch in early 2013. According to, similar systems are already in place in more than 30 states, and Georgia hopes to replicate their success, despite some concern among residents about the privacy of their medical records.

Read more in the June 9 edition of the News.

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