The recent arrest of a doctor accused of illegally writing prescription drugs in North Georgia highlights a growing epidemic across the state, authorities say.
Cases are on the rise of doctors who aren't licensed pain management physicians, yet they work at special clinics and often write hundreds of prescriptions for medications such as Oxycontin and Xanax.
And the easy access to prescription drugs is making it easier for illegitimate users to get the drugs on the streets, officials said.
"This is an epidemic situation," said Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers. "Our No. 1 drug problem is illegal drug medication."
The increase in "pill mills" - prescription clinics set up to dispense drugs illegally - can be traced back to the recent crackdown in Florida, said Rick Allen, the executive director of the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency.