ATLANTA (March 17, 2016) | Legislation that would place a temporary moratorium on the acceptance of new applications for licensure of narcotic treatment centers passed the Georgia House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 15. Senate Bill 402 would also create a state commission to study the current licensure process, as well as the density of currently operating narcotic treatment centers within the state. The legislation was filed by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R – Chickamauga) out of growing concern over the number of Georgia’s narcotic treatment programs and the documented increase of heroin addiction.
“We are one step closer to examining and eventually answering some of the concerning questions about the operations of narcotic treatment centers in Georgia. The commission will determine if these centers are providing beneficial recovery services or enabling a very troubling problem,” said Sen. Mullis.
The legislation would stop the acceptance of new applications for licensure of narcotic treatment programs until June 30, 2017. However, currently operating narcotic treatment centers seeking license renewal would not be impacted by the moratorium. The brief suspension is intended to provide legislators with adequate time to review the licensure process, geography and number of open treatment centers, and determine if legislative action is necessary to change licensing or operational requirements.
Senate Bill 402 would also create the state commission tasked with evaluating the licensing and location of Georgia’s narcotic treatment centers. The commission will be comprised of three House members appointed by the Speaker, three Senate members appointed by the President of the Senate, and five members appointed by the Governor. The Governor’s appointments must include the commissioner of the Department of Community Health, the commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Disabilities, and three members representing a cross-section of narcotic treatment center owners, pharmacists, and law enforcement. The commission co-chairs will be selected by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate.
Georgia is ranked third nationally in the number of narcotic treatment centers, with 63 currently operating within the state. Heroin use and overdoses in Georgia have skyrocketed in the last five years; a stark contradiction from the large number of treatment centers operating with the intention of reducing addiction rates.
Senate Bill 402 passed by a vote of 169-0 in the House of Representatives. The legislation now transfers to Governor Nathan Deal for his approval.
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For Immediate Release:
March 17, 2016
For Information Contact:
Jennifer Yarber, Director