published Friday, August 12th, 2011

Raided pain clinic leaves Calhoun

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The owners of a Calhoun, Ga., pain management clinic that authorities investigated as an illegal pill mill have packed up and left town without notice.

Advance Wellness was raided March 16. Police took about 200,000 pills from the clinic after it was suspected of illegally prescribing hundreds of painkillers to patients across the region.

City officials pulled the business' license the same day, citing a nuisance ordinance. But several weeks later, owners Bo and Jon Allen were given their license back after officials discovered they had violated city ordinances by not holding a revocation hearing.

The Allens were never charged with any crime, and their clinic reopened several weeks later.

In early August, the clinic's landlord, Hayley Stevens, said he found the business empty and no explanation from the owners for leaving.

"They just more or less disappeared overnight," said Detective Tony Pyle with the Calhoun Police Department.

The Allens, who have a Florida address, couldn't be reached for comment.

Stevens said he and the other tenants in the shopping center are glad the clinic is gone. He said its customers crammed the parking lot spaces and scared employees and patrons of other businesses.

Police said one reason the clinic left could be a new state law authorizing an electronic database to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of drugs.

Georgia Drugs and Narcotics agents had been keeping an eye on the clinic, which brought in customers from across the South, including Kentucky and southern Florida. But officials said such investigations are cumbersome -- it can take months or years to get enough evidence to shut down a suspected pill mill.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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August 12, 2011 at 11:17 p.m.
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