Florida's crackdown on 'pill mills" has pushed many of the operators across the border in Georgia. The Wall Street Journal cites Jeffrey Gonzalez, a failed car dealer who moved to an Atlanta suburb, hired two physicians through Craigslist and opened a clinic prescribing opioid painkillers. Gonzalez said he "The laws are minimal at best," Gonzalez said of Georgia. "We had a green light from every agency that we spoke to."
The rapid cross-border shift reflects how quickly operators can migrate when the business environment sours—and why it is difficult to fight the prescription-drug epidemic on a national scale. Today Georgia is home to more than 125 clinics, up from fewer than 10 in 2010. Per capita prescription sales of oxycodone tripled between 2000 and 2010. Other states could be caught off guard in the coming years, says Sam Olens, Georgia's attorney general. "Once the pill mills leave Georgia, they'll simply go north of us," says Olens, looking for other states with looser regulations.