10:31pm

Sun November 13, 2011
The Commonwealth

KY Pain-Pill Clinics Call for Tougher Regulations

State Sen. Jimmy Higdon used to think Eastern Kentucky was the only part of the state that had a problem with cash-only clinics where doctors churned out prescriptions for drug abusers. Then a pain clinic opened last year in his hometown of Lebanon. Neighbors began complaining about vans full of people waiting in the parking lot, but as police prepared to investigate, the clinic closed abruptly, local officials said. Many pain clinics are legitimate and meet the treatment needs of people suffering a range of conditions. But there has been a resurgence during the past couple of years of suspected "pill mills" that help feed the state's epidemic of prescription-drug abuse, and the facilities are not just in Eastern Kentucky, where the problem was once most prominent, police say.