According to the opinion, county governments do not have the authority to regulate or ban licensed pain clinics as those businesses operate under the purveyance of the state Board of Medical Licensure. Any attempt to regulate pain clinics on a local level would usurp the board’s authority, the AG opined, which would be illegal.
So we wonder where that leaves local governments in their fight to stop the ongoing scourge of prescription pill abuse?
Knott County Judge-Executive Randy Thompson, whose fiscal court passed a ban earlier this year, told one newspaper he’s not willing to give up just yet, while Perry County Judge Denny Ray Noble took a more measured approach when the Herald asked him about the opinion on Tuesday, commenting that he’s going to confer again with the county attorney on the matter.
It would seem, though, that counties seeking to ban pain clinics, even those that could readily be labeled as “pill mills,” where anyone can walk in off the street and back out an hour later with a prescription for powerful pain medication, have hit a major roadblock. Though we do not believe pain clinics operating legitimately and responsibly should be banned, we’re troubled that county governments are being shackled by the state in their efforts to prevent pill mills from operating within their borders.
Though the AG’s opinion may ultimately give pill mill operators more inclination to sue to stay open, we can’t allow these places to continue to push powerful, addicting narcotics onto the streets of Kentucky anymore. Despite what the AG’s office now says, we think it’s worth it to put a cap on these pill mills spewing drugs onto the street. We think our community, our county and our region will look back with regret if we don’t at the very least try.