Pill Mills Increasing in Georgia; Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney Examines Georgia Drug Laws and Penalties

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Atlanta criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Von Schuch discusses the greater number of pill mill operations in Georgia, in addition to the criminal implications from these businesses.

The number of pill mills in Atlanta is greatly increasing because so many other states are enhancing their drug enforcement efforts against drug tourists, pain clinic operators and pill mill operations, stated Atlanta criminal lawyer Benjamin Von Schuch.

Pill mills, or high volume pain clinics that dispense large numbers of prescription medications, have been increasing throughout Atlanta and the surrounding areas of Georgia over the past 18 months. Atlanta criminal defense attorney Benjamin Von Schuch analyzes the potential reasons for the greater amount of pill mills and the drug offenses and penalties an individual could face if convicted of a criminal controlled substance offense.

According to an article published by USA Today on October 25, 2011, pill mill operations in Georgia have been on the rise as nearby states, including Florida, have amplified drug law penalties and regulation of pill mill operations and individuals who run the pain clinics. Pill mill operators have found running the clinics so profitable that they now are going to other states to avoid new laws, increased criminal penalties and prescription pill databases in order to set up their pain shops.

“The number of pill mills in Atlanta is greatly increasing because so many other states are enhancing their drug enforcement efforts against drug tourists, pain clinic operators and pill mill operations,” opines Benjamin Von Schuch, a drug defense attorney in Atlanta.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported a significant rise in pill mills, drug shops, and pain clinics in Atlanta strip malls and along interstate highways due to dealers and individuals from Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Maryland and Kentucky seeking new means to obtain pain pills. Georgia also reported a 10% increase in prescription pill overdoses in 2010 over 2009.

Many states, such as Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and Ohio now have databases in effect that track drug tourists, or individuals who have a valid prescription for medication but go to several states to have the prescription filled numerous times. These databases aim to crack down on individuals who doctor shop, or have their prescriptions filled at many pill mills. Although a prescription drug monitoring program has been approved by the Georgia legislature, it will not be in operation until 2013.

“The recent increase in pain pill clinics in Atlanta will probably result in a higher number of drug arrests throughout the state. These individual can be charged with a number of drug crimes, including possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell or distribute, and even drug trafficking in some cases,” states Von Schuch.

Individuals who doctor shop can be arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance if they do not have a valid prescription, or have more pills than their prescription allows in their possession.

According to Von Schuch, an Atlanta drug possession lawyer, “Possession of a controlled substance is a serious felony offense in Georgia and can result in imprisonment ranging anywhere from one to 30 years depending on the schedule the substance is classified in.”

The Georgia Controlled Substances Act categorizes many pain pills as Schedule II substances, including hydrocodone, codeine, OxyContin, oxycodone and morphine. Additionally, many anti-anxiety medications are classified as Schedule IV substances, including Xanax and Valium.

“An individual that is caught operating a pill mill in Florida can also face serious criminal drug charges, such as possession with intent to sell or distribute and drug trafficking. These are felony offenses that can result in imprisonment ranging from one to 40 years. Additionally, any doctor that overprescribes pain pills can permanently lose their license to practice medicine,” says Von Schuch.

Benjamin Von Schuch of the BVS Law Firm, LLC is an Atlanta criminal defense attorney who represents individuals throughout the areas of Cobb County, Fulton County, Marietta, Smyrna, Roswell, Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville, DeKalb County, Dunwoody, Clayton County and Riverdale.

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