The cities of Woodstock and Holly Springs are in the process of drafting laws that would prevent so-called pill mills from popping up into the cities.
Pill mills are sprouting up all across the country, and the south Florida area has been especially hit hard by the shops.
Unlike legitimate pain management clinics, pill mills, instead of writing prescriptions for patients, allow people to choose which drugs they want. Patients often pay in cash for the medication, which includes heavy duty painkillers such as Oxycontin.
Cherokee-Multi Agency Narcotics Squad Commander Phil Price said while there have been no recent pill mill busts in the county, the businesses remain "an issue and concern" for law enforcement officials.
During its work session Monday night, the Holly Springs City Council talked about drafting an ordinance that would "prevent what's defined as a pill mill" from opening up there, said Mayor Tim Downing.
The council passed a moratorium on issuing licenses to such businesses last year after the Holly Springs Police Department shut down a suspected pill mill operating as a chiropractic center.
"They are a growing industry," Downing said, noting since the bust last year, the city hasn't seen any more pill mills open up shop.
Pain medications, he said, are the fastest-growing form of addiction, and pill mills will only exacerbate the problem of people addicted to powerful medications.
"This gives us the ability to try and fight that," he said. "We would rather not have that activity in the city."
Brantley Day, Holly Springs' community development director, is drafting the ordinance and is using the city of Marietta's law as a template.
He said he hopes to present a draft ordinance to the council during its March 7 work session with a vote to adopt it held as soon as March 21.
The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners and Woodstock City Council last year also passed moratoriums on issuing business licenses to pain management clinics.
Woodstock City Manager Jeff Moon said he expects a draft ordinance to be sent to the Woodstock City Council for review this week. The council could hold a first hearing as soon as the Feb. 28 meeting.
County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens said the county's moratorium runs through April.
The board, he said, will monitor what action is taken by other cities and the state legislature. He added he expects the board will take up the matter as the moratorium expiration date draws near.
Ball Ground City Manager Eric Wilmarth issued a staff directive last summer for all business license applications to open pain management clinics to be reviewed by him and Police Chief Dana Davis.
An ordinance to regulate pain management clinics has been drafted for the Ball Ground City Council to consider for adoption.
The cities of Canton, Nelson and Waleska haven't received reports of suspected pill mills, officials said.
Mayor Gene Hobgood said an ordinance is "something we may take a look at."
"If that's definitely a problem we're having, then we need to step up the pace and deal with that," he said.