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ACLU: patients rights violated by FL database

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Updated: 7/09/2013 12:06 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Doctor patient confidentiality is security that John Adams appreciates.

"I like my privacy and my freedom."

But he doesn't appreciate law enforcements ability to access the states prescription drug database.
It allows police to monitor how many prescriptions doctors are writing for highly addictive pain killers. The hope is that it will combat pill mills and doctor shopping.

Dr. Sunil Joshi, accesses the database anytime a patient requires pain medication. regularly.

It's a very useful tool. You know who's prescribing it, how many they got and when they last got it."

The effort seems to be working. The Florida Department of Health reports a 58 percent drop in doctor shopping over the past three years.

"If you don't have that access you almost go back to the dark ages."

But the ACLU claims patients rights are being violated and that state investigators are obtaining patient information too easily after a group of Volusia County attorneys got their hands on sensitive records for 3,000 people earlier this year.

The ACLU says warrants should be required from now on.

Adams agrees police should prove they have a reason to be looking at those records.

"I think government has too much control and freedom to do whatever they want."

Dr. Joshi also supports some additional regulations to protect patients, but his support comes with caution. He worries too many restrictions could make the system useless.

"I'm for stricter rules but lets not throw the baby out with the bath water. I just don't want the database to become so restrictive that it's eliminated in its entirety because of that happens that hurts everybody."

Law enforcement agencies across the state have used information from the database in about 20,000 criminal investigations over the past three years, and some agencies argue that if they have to get a warrant, it will slow down their progress in combating the state's efforts.

The Department of Health says it will consider the ACLU recommendations, and others, during a meeting in August.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

Realchange - 7/9/2013 2:37 PM
0 Votes
They not even covering where the government has beef with citizens about something and might use sensitive data against them. We seen the example of the IRS scandal, cell phones, and now internet records and you think this wont be used against someone in some way in the future.

imtellin - 7/9/2013 10:04 AM
0 Votes
yeah, what a bee ach it would slow them down, by all of 1 hour, providing they illustrate to a judge, they have probable cause for the warrant & search... protecting Americans rights take precedence, over law enforcements desire to move swiftly.. after all, what's the rush ?? they can always go out & arrest violators after the fact, when warranted.. this simply gives them access to our personal & private lives, guaranteed by the bill of rights.. the aclu should sue in the supreme court to cease this activity..
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