Relaxed rules in Georgia and stricter regulations in Tennessee have led to an increase in recent years of privately owned treatment centers in Georgia for heroin and prescription painkiller addicts, Kaplan reports. Data from the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities shows that last year one in five people treated at an opioid treatment center in Georgia came from out of state. In Northwest Georgia, which borders Chattanooga, two of three patients are from out of state.
Complaints from local residents led state Sen. Jeff Mullis, who represents much of the northwest, to lead a push this year "to pass a new set of statewide regulations on the industry," Kaplan writes. "The new rules will require programs to demonstrate a need for their services, similar to the certificate of need licensing program already used in Tennessee. Previously, open competition was really the only constraint on the number of clinics in Georgia. Mullis's bill also limits the number of centers that can open in newly established regions around the state. His region will already be at capacity as soon as the bill is signed." (Read more)