Grainger County group fighting to keep out pain clinics

Grainger County group fighting to keep out pain clinics


6 News Reporter

RUTLEDGE (WATE) – Are pain clinics being pushed out of cities like Knoxville, headed to rural areas like Grainger County?

Pill mills or not, it's a concern for a group called the Grainger United Anti-Drug Coalition.

Right now the county has no pain clinics, but sees a decent amount of pill related crime. The concern is if pain clinics move in, the problem could get worse.

"As we started seeing pain clinics close in surrounding counties, we got worried that they'd be looking for new property," says Becky Johnson, she's a school teacher who heads up the group.

The Grainger County Sheriff shares her concern.

"We don't have any pain clinics in town at this time. We have some intelligence information that they may want to move into this county because of less regulations," explained Sheriff Scott Layel.

Some Grainger county cities have already been approached by pain clinics. But the cities have rules that keep them out. The county on the other hand is wide open. However commissioners are hesitant to change that. They say zoning the county will cost taxpayers.

"Our tax rate is high enough. Grainger County has a high enough unemployment rate. Who will pay for this?" said County Commissioner James Acuff.

At a meeting Monday night, Johnson, representing the anti-drug coalition made a big plea to commissioners.

She even referenced a 6 News story about the problems that stemmed from a North Knoxville pain clinic. Ultimately commissioners decided to form a committee to take a closer look at how to keep out pain clinics.

"We enjoy Grainger County. We'd like to keep it a safe place for our children and for all our citizens," Johnson said.

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