Thursday, September 09, 2010

NC Sheriffs want access to private medical info

Just brilliant. What could go wrong?
Sheriffs in North Carolina want access to state computer records identifying anyone with prescriptions for powerful painkillers and other controlled substances. [...]

The state sheriff's association pushed the idea Tuesday, saying the move would help them make drug arrests and curb a growing problem of prescription drug abuse. But patient advocates say opening up people's medicine cabinets to law enforcement would deal a devastating blow to privacy rights.[...]

Sheriffs made their pitch Tuesday to a legislative health care committee looking for ways to confront prescription drug abuse. Local sheriffs said that more people in their counties die of accidental overdoses than from homicides.
So how would giving the cops access to pain med patients' medical records prevent accidental ODs, one wonders? Would they stake out the homes to see if the lights go on at night? Do hourly checks on their state of consciousness by phone? Don't see how that excuse could be any more bogus.

Sheriffs also say the access would help them go after those who are "abusing the system." Which is a code word for fishing for legitimate pain patients, and the doctors who prescribe for them, whom they can shake down for forfeiture property which has become a large source of LEO income over the last decade or so. Just ask Richard Paey or the pain management physicians who have been jailed or driven out of practice.

Medical records are private for a reason and the potential for breach of that privacy via loose use of access by local sheriffs certainly outweighs any alleged potential benefit of giving it to them.


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