The Holly Springs City Council on Monday night approved the first ordinance in Cherokee County designed to block "pill mills" from opening in the city. These businesses are known for issuing unneeded and excessive narcotics prescriptions to customers.
The ordinance allows the city to require pain management clinic applicants fill out surveys detailing how they plan to operate before granting them business licenses.
This will ensure businesses are operating "the right way," Holly Springs Community Development Director Brantley Day said.
The city wanted to create a license just for pain clinics, but state law prohibits it, Day said.
"It's really not possible to separate them," he said, adding the city will classify pain management clinics as either a pharmacy or a medical establishment.
Pill mills have become an epidemic nationwide, according to law enforcement agencies, with operators allowing people to choose what drugs they want without medical necessity and often pay cash. Heavy duty painkillers such as Oxycontin are a popular at pill mills.
Woodstock's City Attorney Eldon Basham is in the midst of drafting an ordinance regulating pain management clinics for the Woodstock City Council to consider approving.
The Holly Springs City Council on Monday also voted to hold a special election to fill seat vacated by Post 3 Councilwoman Jacqueline Patrick-Archer, who recently resigned.
The election will be held on Nov. 8.
Mayor Tim Downing said the city has to call for the election within 45 days of the seat being vacated.
He noted there's a "good possibility" there will be other elections on the date, and the city then would share the expense with Cherokee County.
The county school board is expected to call for a referendum in November to renew the existing 1-percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) used to build schools.
Councilwoman Karen Barnett asked if the council could appoint someone to serve out Ms. Archer's term.
Downing said the city can't appoint a person since there's more than six months left in Ms. Archer's term, which expires on Dec. 31, 2012.
The council also approved a resolution to ask the Cherokee County state legislative delegation to pass local legislation to annex Interstate 575 from just north of the Little River Bridge to the Sixes Road interchange.
Downing said it's the "right thing to do" to bring this stretch of road into the city limits, and the Cherokee Sheriff's Office "encourages" the city to annex and patrol the interstate.
He also noted state Rep. Sean Jerguson (R-Holly Springs), a former city councilman, asked the council to consider the annexation.