Georgia Attorney General Samuel Olens spoke to the Conyers Rotary Club Thursday and detailed a few of the projects his office is working on this year, most notably efforts to ban “pill mills” in Georgia.
Olens and the 135 lawyers who work under him handle issues from the death penalty to a new stadium in Atlanta to litigation against the state. In recent years his office was instrumental in tightening sex trafficking laws.
“Georgia now has one of the strongest laws against sex trafficking,” Olens said, adding that the sex trade mainly targets 12- to 14-year-old girls and Georgia faced a growing problem due to the airport and interstate highway system. The new law substantially increased the punishment for human trafficking from a possible one year sentence to a minimum of ten years in prison.
This year Olens will turn his attention to the prescription drug abuse crisis in Georgia. Studies show prescription drug abuse causes more deaths than motor vehicle accidents and more overdoses than are caused by “street drugs,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Olens also highlighted the Georgia Legal Food Frenzy initiative coordinated by his office to raise funds for community food banks.
“Sixty percent of Georgia’s children are eligible for free or reduced lunch – what do you think happens to them in the summer when they are not in school?” Olens said. “We are asking lawyers to collect healthy food or raise funds to feed children during the summer.”
The program collected 620,000 pounds of food last year and the goal this year has been raised to 750,000 pounds. For more information on the program, visit the Georgia Attorney General’s website and click on the Georgia Legal Food Frenzy link.
Olens closed by fielding questions on a wide range of topics, many of which he declined to comment on due to his position. City Manager Tony Lucas asked Olens his thoughts on pari-mutuel betting, an issue that has a significant amount of local attention in the last two years.
“I would be surprised if it (a resolution to allow voters to decide on pari-mutuel betting) came out of the legislature this year,” Olens said without elaborating.