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Methadone Clinics: Downfall of Pain Pill Mills

Lawmakers and addiction treatment specialists operating methadone clinics in Georgia recently learned that a trio of pill mill operators has been sentenced to 15 years for federal charges on drugs and money laundering as well as rendering mistreatment to a full roster of patients.  These Floridians—Jason  Votrobek, Jesse Violante, and Roland Rafael Castellanos—moved their successful pain clinic operation from Florida to Georgia, opening Atlanta Medical Group in Cartersville. They hired Cartersville resident Tara Atkins as an office manager and Dr. James Chapman to see their patients.

Some states throughout the country have more relaxed rules than others for regulating pain clinics. When Florida legislators tightened regulations, Votrobek and his cohorts as well as other clinic operators moved their clinics into Georgia and other nearby states not prepared to handle their influx.

Clinics like these distribute both prescriptions and quantities of pills to their patients. Typically the owners charge $250 per visit from the hundreds of patients visiting each day. The pills themselves are cheap to the clinic owners who get them from a drug distributor, and the rest is pure profit. These people don’t go into business because they care about people’s suffering.

Christopher George of Florida, convicted of federal charges relating to an operation that netted him $40 million, described the process for getting meds. He examined state websites for local companies that had DEA numbers and then contacted them, asking if they distributed medication to businesses. Only half of any order could be for pain pills; that’s why many clinics also advertise therapy for weight loss or emotional problems.

The Underworld of Methadone Clinics

Most pain clinics have long lines of patients who wait in the parking lot, trading prescriptions and sharing tricks of the opiate drug addiction trade. The clinics advertise immediate relief, and there will often be large No Weapons signs prominently displayed—few patients are bankers or choir boys. Don’t bother to bring your checkbook or plastic—it’s cash on the barrel, friend. In fact, George says, they stopped using cash registers or even cash drawers at his pain clinic, because they filled up too quickly. His staff simply dropped cash into two-gallon jugs.

If you found yourself hooked on drugs through the kind auspices of a rogue pain pill mill, look around you and reach out. There are methadone clinics in Blairsville, Columbus and Savannah, Georgia, no matter where you live, and help is available to help you get your life back on track.

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