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February 16--  A bill to help doctors and druggists curtail the abuse of illegally prescribed prescription drugs in Georgia is moving through the state Senate.

State Senator Buddy Carter of Pooler, who is a pharmacist, says the Patient Safety Act, is urgently needed in Georgia.

"Georgia is one of only ten states in the nation which has no modern laws to help fight prescription drug abuse.  To make matters worse, every state surrounding Georgia has an electronic system in place to track illegal activity.  That means many fly-by-night storefront pain clinics and drug abusers are moving to Georgia because they know they can get away with these actions much easier than in our neighboring states," Carter says.

In Vidalia, BuySmart pharmacist Edie Smith called the DEA after becoming suspicious when an out-of-town customer paid cash for a Hydrocodone prescription obtained from a pain clinic in Florida.  Within hours, the pharmacy got calls from out-of-state trying to fill similiar orders.  She says drug dealers are making thousands of dollars on a single prescription of pain killers.

Smith hopes Senator Carter's bill will pass so druggists can go online to track purchases of prescription drugs.

"It will stop those people who are on Medicare or other insurance, if they're addicted to Hydrcodone, their doctor may not even know they're getting double doses if they went to to another doctor and got a prescription and paid cash.  If I have a data base, I will know they just got a prescription on insurance and it will cut out a lot of abuse," she says.

Senator Carter says a 2009 study showed that more people died from prescription drug overdoes in Georgia than from illegal drugs.