DEA Wants Easier Access to Your Medical Records

I've always thought the state prescription monitoring databases are a huge abuse of patient privacy in the name of the futile war on drugs. The Daily Beast reports on DEA's fight for access to your medical records without a warrant or court order.

The DEA has claimed for years that under federal law it has the authority to access the state’s Prescription Drug Monitor Program database using only an “administrative subpoena.” These are unilaterally issued orders that do not require a showing of probable cause before a court, like what’s required to obtain a warrant.

Thankfully, a judge in Oregon balked (but read on) [More...]:

In 2012 Oregon sued the DEA to prevent it from enforcing the subpoenas to snoop around its drug registry. Two years ago a U.S. District Court found in favor of the state, ruling that prescription data is covered by the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful search and seizure.

...“Although there is not an absolute right to privacy in prescription information... it is more than reasonable for patients to believe that law enforcement agencies will not have unfettered access to their records,” he added.

The DEA appealed and is still fighting for access to Oregon records.

In Utah, police accessed the prescription monitoring database more than 11,000 times in a single year. A state senator introduced a bill requiring the DEA to get a warrant. It became law a few months ago.

“If a police officer showed up at your home and wanted to look in your medicine cabinet and you said no, he would have to go and get a search warrant.”

The AMA has filed an Amicus Brief opposing the DEA's position in Oregon.

“The primary purpose of PDMPs is healthcare, not law enforcement,” the AMA said, adding that while PDMPs provide for referrals to law enforcement, they are not designed to be “a tool or repository for law enforcement to initiate access to gather information,” as is the case here with the DEA’s administrative subpoena.

The DEA claims:

The agency argues that it has a “compelling interest” that supplants any privacy protections attached to prescription data for controlled substances and that requiring a warrant “severely limits [its] ability to conduct timely, effective investigations.”

One example of abuse: An addicted Utah cop rummaged through the database and found an elderly couple prescribed painkillers. He was caught on video at their home stealing the pills.

I can't even fathom the rationale behind Wisconsin's law:

Wisconsin passed a law in March that liberalized access to its PDMP, making the data available to registered nurses without independent prescribing authority, medical directors, and substance abuse counselors. The law also removed a previous requirement that police obtain a search warrant to access the data.

Here's how bad it is all over:

According to the Department of Justice, only 19 states require a warrant for law enforcement to access their PDMP, and more than a dozen allow out-of-state police agencies access. Less than a quarter of states require that patients are notified when or if their prescription information might be accessed....Fifteen state registries even house information on non-controlled substances.

The DEA has it as*-backwards. It's not the over-abundance of pain pills that cause people to take heroin, which in turn sometimes leads to overdose and death -- it's the over-restriction of pain pills in recent years (and fear of prosecution instilled in doctors engaged in legitimate medical practices) that limited people's access to painkillers that turned them to heroin.

Congress should keep its laws off our bodies, let us decide on acceptable risks associated with prescription medication, in conjunction with our doctors, and either disband, defund or sharply rein in the global holy warriors of the DEA.

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    DEA, the world's most useless gov't agency. (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by cpinva on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 07:21:09 AM EST
    the DEA, created during the Nixon administration, specifically to fight the "war on (some people, using some) drugs", has been an utter and complete failure, in the one job it has. time to stop throwing good money after bad, and rid ourselves of this useless cash black hole. it'll do the budget good.

    Don't worry (2.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Jun 11, 2016 at 06:32:02 PM EST

    This information will never be abused. Look how fast the IRS targeting of conservative groups led to demotions, firings, and prosecutions.

    Am surprised by (none / 0) (#30)
    by BTAL on Tue Jun 14, 2016 at 04:40:09 PM EST
    the 2 rating by Peter G.  My impression is that a defense attorney (and a TL member that I truly respect due to his measured and fair posts) would effectively being trusting of any government entity power.

    The above is not an attack by any means and will look forward to an explanation - since I probably mis-read something into the rating.


    I'm guessing (none / 0) (#32)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jun 14, 2016 at 04:46:54 PM EST
    Peter was responding to repeating the specious right wing talking point that the IRS targeted right wing groups?

    Not specious (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by BTAL on Tue Jun 14, 2016 at 05:09:58 PM EST
    The reported details (and not just in right leaning media) has confirmed that the IRS did go a bit rogue.  

    That still doesn't answer my question - nor can you with your guess.


    A half truth is just a lie that makes you feel (none / 0) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jun 14, 2016 at 05:20:53 PM EST

    Better about telling it.

    The IRS "targeted" groups that were using tax exempt status to do political work.  Right and left.  That's not a guess.  And it's not a surprise that either of you (you or the one you replied to) are happy to repeat it.  That's not a guess either.

    With that I will leave you to Peter


    Speaking of lists, (none / 0) (#3)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 09:52:57 AM EST
    Gotta wonder how long it will be until one's presence on a state's list of people licensed to use medical marijuana will turn into a blip on the report returned to a cop during a traffic stop.

    Does anyone know how many jurisdictions and databases are searched to provide those reports?  From the amount of money that's been poured into the Homeland Security State I'd guess that they're searching everything up to and including SETI.

    Of course we'll be on that list (none / 0) (#4)
    by fishcamp on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 12:29:57 PM EST
    Just like the shooter in Orlando had been looked at for asscocianting with known bad guys.  Quite amazing how much damage one man can reap.  I think I saw a DEA agent hovering in the background during the Orlando multi forces press conference.  So now this can be an Orlando thread?

    NPR is driving me crazy (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Peter G on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 04:13:14 PM EST
    repeatedly implying that is somehow problematic that Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was able to freely buy deadly firearms in Florida after being "investigated" in 2013 by the FBI for his political and religious statements and associations (and found not be be involved in any crimimal activity), as if it were confusing why this would be. What if he was on the FBI's "radar screen" for his political and/or religious views? I find that troublesome to start with. Be that as it may, only a felony conviction (or a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence) would make him a "prohibited person" under the federal firearms law. Since the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban, mass-killing military weapons like the AR-15 he used are not federally regulated (and are not restricted in Florida by state law either), thanks to the relentless efforts of the NRA and the spineless legislators (of both parties) they hold in their irresponsible grip.  

    One of the NPR reporters said (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 04:46:42 PM EST
    that he held an FFL.

    The reporting has reached the usual state, which means every possible permutation of circumstance and hypothesis has been floated as fact.  I believe little more than the reporting of the reporters' own names.


    as soon as I heard (none / 0) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 05:40:30 PM EST
    "the largest mass shooting..."
    i knew it was going to be bad. a confluence of juicy undercurrents.   i have not been disappointed.  

    And now law enforcement arrest (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 12:50:57 PM EST
    an armed man intending to wreak havoc on gay pride parade in L A.

    as a demographic (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 01:19:54 PM EST
    we do not intimidate easily

    A true statement, (none / 0) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 04:56:39 PM EST
    validated by the fact that there still is the demographic. As you poignantly noted in another thread, some of the wingnuts must be torn; but, probably, their bottom line is that they lost a friend...the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    is this an open thread? (none / 0) (#13)
    by linea on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 06:18:49 PM EST
    i want to talk about the shootings but i dont want to break the rules and get in trouble.

    RE: "The DEA appealed" (none / 0) (#11)
    by linea on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 06:10:56 PM EST
    I dont understand how this works.  the DEA appeals without instruction, advice, or consent from the Administration?  it's like a rogue organization that cant be controlled? Or is Obama good-to-go with all this?

    As lax as (none / 0) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 06:11:25 PM EST
    our gun laws are in this country and as many mass murders as we've had sooner or later the Republicans worst nightmare was going to come to fruition: someone committed a mass murder who happened to be a Muslim. Now they are going to have to explain all their votes in support of giving this guy a gun when there were a ton of signs he should have never had one.

    What signs? (none / 0) (#14)
    by TrevorBolder on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 06:58:33 PM EST
    Why would you restrict his right? It was also part of his occupation.
    So the FBI investigated claims made against him, and said there was nothing there, and they let it drop.
    Now maybe the FBI dropped their investigation too soon, they did have a face to face interview with him.
    Anyone in the country has the right to own a gun, there must be due cause to take away that right.
    What vote made by Republican legislators enabled this terrorist to buy a weapon?

    He was (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 07:05:58 PM EST
    a wife abuser. There was a bill to keep people who were wife abusers from getting guns. The GOP supported wife abusers getting guns. Then there's the GOP outright support of everyone having weapons of mass murder--assault weapons.

    Comey probably should have his head on a platter after this. I'm not sure the guy is competent and probably needs to go.

    Every pro-NRA vote made by Republicans over the last few years has been nothing but supporting handing these kinds of weapons out to everybody. The GOP has even refused to EVEN fund a study because of the NRA pulling their strings.


    Hmmmmm? (none / 0) (#16)
    by TrevorBolder on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 07:08:27 PM EST
    As described below, federal law prohibits abusers who have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors and abusers subject to certain domestic violence restraining orders from possessing guns.9 The federal laws intended to prevent access to firearms by domestic abusers have significant limitations, however, and some states have adopted broader laws to address these problems.
    1.  Family and Dating Partner Violence:  Domestic violence affects persons in relationships that fall outside the protections of federal law.  For example, dating partners are not within the federal prohibitions unless the partners are/were cohabitating as spouses or have a child in common.  The risk of domestic violence being committed by a dating partner is well-documented.  In 2008, individuals killed by current dating partners made up almost half of all spouse and current dating partner homicides.10  A study of applicants for domestic violence restraining orders in Los Angeles found that the most common relationship between the victim and abuser was a dating relationship, and applications for protective orders were more likely to mention firearms when the parties had not lived together and were not married.11

    Actually (none / 0) (#17)
    by TrevorBolder on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 07:11:25 PM EST
    The FBI has admitted to having active terrorist investigation ongoing in every state in the country.
    There are probably too many "investigations" for them to run down every lead. If there is no solid lead to terroism, they wrap it up and proceed to the next case on their desk.
    Much like Brussels, but most likely not as bad as Brussels, law enforcement is taxed.

    Yikes!!!!! (none / 0) (#19)
    by TrevorBolder on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 07:22:21 PM EST
    Officials say Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, an Afghan-American who held two firearms licenses and a security officer license, was employed by the security firm G4S Secure Solutions USA Inc. since Sept. 10, 2007. The Jupiter, Fla.-based company merged with the Wackenhut Corp. after 9/11 and assumed federal contracts.

    "G4S supports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CPB), with its operations at the U.S. ­ Mexico border and with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to transport illegal immigrants in selected urban areas," the company says in a brochure, titled "Providing Manpower Solutions for Government Services."

    The DHS contract with G4S is worth more than $234 million. The contract states that one of the "performance requirements" is helping identify "suspected terrorists" trying to enter the U.S.
    The security contractor also provides security guards and other security services for "90 percent of U.S. nuclear facilities."


    Yes, yikes! (none / 0) (#31)
    by BTAL on Tue Jun 14, 2016 at 04:45:02 PM EST
    But never fear, just as many here will tell you, trust in the government - it is the all knowing, all caring and all providing.   /snark...

    And (none / 0) (#18)
    by TrevorBolder on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 07:15:24 PM EST
    Mateen married Sitora Yusufiy of Port St. Lucie in 2009, according to court documents. They divorced two years later in 2011, St. Lucie County court records show.
    Mateen has no state criminal record, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records.

    You cannot take away someones right for gun ownership if you never tell authorities of the domestic violence.
    Am not sure if she ever reported any domestic violence, but there is no conviction


    You (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Jun 12, 2016 at 07:42:25 PM EST
    are making my point and my point is the legislation that the GOP voted against would have changed the law so this guy would not have been able to get a gun. The existing laws are very weak and Florida is one of the worst states in the nation.

    And you guys are finally maybe going to be held accountable for what you have wrought. 20 small children gunned down. 9 African Americans killed while in church. Now you have one of your dreaded "Muslims" commit a mass murder of LGBT people who just last week you were trying to commit mass hysteria against and even had someone attempting to bomb a Target bathroom because of it.

    Just a little while ago a long serving Republican Senator from South Dakota of all places endorsed Hillary because she is anti-NRA.

    NRA board members making films of Hillary being murdered are just cute to you guys aren't they? Well, I guess the real thing is just as good as making films. The NRA seems to revel in it.


    If the Democrats (none / 0) (#21)
    by TrevorBolder on Mon Jun 13, 2016 at 05:00:27 AM EST
    Want to use this act for political purposes,

    Their only recourse is to call for banning of guns.

    Again, what legislation did the GOP vote against?

    I have no idea what legislation you are referring to


    Well (none / 0) (#27)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jun 13, 2016 at 07:37:34 AM EST
    here's one bill GOP blocks bill to stop terrorists from buying guns

    Here's another GOP votes against background checks

    Really, Trevor, the Republicans caving to the NRA all the time is a dog bites man story.


    site violator (none / 0) (#23)
    by fishcamp on Mon Jun 13, 2016 at 06:51:30 AM EST

    Ha...beat you this time Howdy (none / 0) (#24)
    by fishcamp on Mon Jun 13, 2016 at 06:59:34 AM EST
    Fish camp gets up early here to check the weather and tides.for hopeful fishing, but since it's raining, it will be the gym...ugh.  Oh well those gym guys will need some technical info this morning.  they don't know much about the DEA, and unfortunately I do.

    Good morning to you too (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 13, 2016 at 07:07:46 AM EST
    Are we treating this as an open thread now?

    No, we better not. (none / 0) (#26)
    by fishcamp on Mon Jun 13, 2016 at 07:27:48 AM EST
    I'm probably in trouble anyway.  Now the DEA will probably follow me to the gym.  There are more DOJ alphabetical henchmen here in the keys than anyplace I have ever lived.  They're in the air, on the water, at one end or the other of the 42 bridges we have, and all over the highway.  They all have offices in a tall building near the gym.  It's the one with about fifty antennas on top.

    And why not, eh fishcamp? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jun 13, 2016 at 10:03:55 AM EST
    It's beautiful down there.  I can imagine the memos and reports they send back to DC.  "This place is crawling with smugglers.  We need more time and bigger miami vice type expense accounts.  Where are those Ferraris we requisitioned?"

    The DEA and Homeland Security (none / 0) (#29)
    by fishcamp on Mon Jun 13, 2016 at 12:37:44 PM EST
    have the most boats,  then the Florida Wildlife Commission, followed by the sherif's Dept. and the Everglades Park Police.  Not sure about the FBI boats.  Of course when the Coast Guaed comes in during a load or looking for Cubans, they have boats ranging in size from 18 footers  clear out to the big boys on the horizon. Jets and choppers cruising by.

    Every other marina has government boats in for repairs.  About half the times I'm in to refuel some fed boat is refueling too, and they drive fast all the time, burning way more fuel than necessary.  They are friendly but you just know they're getting your boat tag numbers and running them.  The DEA guys are the worst, they're not even friendly,, and they think every cooler has blow in it,  I'm sure they would love to have access ro boaters medical records too.  

    Where were the DEA (none / 0) (#35)
    by fishcamp on Tue Jun 21, 2016 at 09:25:42 AM EST
    during the Orlando shooting?  Large music events, raves, and places like the Orlando shooting are where the DEA usually go to observe and later bust people.  I would guess there were a couple of them in the building, packing heat.  But, of course, it's not their job to help save people is it?  I saw  the resident DEA agent attending a small memorial service for a possible suspected gram dealer in Aspen.  He wasn't on the guest list, but he was there watching.  Horrible Federal agency.