Neil Campbell, executive director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, applauded the move.
"This is a really good thing," she said. "There's been such an abuse of prescriptions and it's hurt a lot of people. Most doctors don't want to give more painkillers than they need to, but unfortunately that's not the case with everyone."
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At the same time, the public needs to realize that there are “good doctors out there who must prescribe high levels of painkillers for people with real chronic pain,” Campbell said. “Their numbers might look out of whack but, on balance, what they are doing is necessary for their patients.”
Last year, federal prosecutors obtained an indictment against former metro area medical examiner Joe Burton for prescribing opioids in exchange for sexual favors. Over a two-year period, beginning in July 2015, Burton wrote more than 1,500 prescriptions for about 350 different people for controlled substances, including opioid painkillers, prosecutors said.
The bulk of the prescriptions were given to women in return for sex. The nationally known, 73-year-old pathologist pleaded guilty and was sentenced in August to eight years in prison.
In its statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted that 140 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day and the epidemic was created, in part, by widespread over-prescriptions.