The Georgia House of Representatives has approved a bill aimed at cracking down on so-called "pill mills."
Authorities warn that the proliferation of unregulated pain management clinics endangers people across the state.
Lawmakers say they are listening.
"Drug dealers and organized crime have found a loophole and have come in and taken over a lot of these pain clinics and are killing people," said House Majority Whip Rep. Edward Lindsey.
The Georgia House quickly approved a bill to regulate pain management clinics on Wednesday. The businesses would have to have to be owned by physicians and obtain a license under the state medical board.
Sponsors of the legislation say Georgia has been flooded by pill mill operator, especially since crackdowns began in Florida, which had been seen as a pill mill haven.
"Right now they're just coming in, opening up, don't have to tell us anything, and that's legal. It's just a loophole in our laws now that this closes," said Rep. Tom Weldon (R-Ringgold).
Weldon is the principal sponsor of House Bill 178, which passed the house on a vote of 150 to 15.
"I think it opens up a new avenue for law enforcement to properly do their job and it arms them with the tools to do their job," Weldon said.
Under the bill, a pain clinic is defined as a practice where at least half of the patients are treated for chronic pain. The business would have to get a state license beginning in July.
The measure now goes to the state Senate.
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