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Thread: N.C. Bill Would Make Prescription Records Available to Police Without a Warrant

  1. #1

    N.C. Bill Would Make Prescription Records Available to Police Without a Warrant

    Have any information on this one @Glen Bradley? I don't see any sponsors so I guess this is just being floated? From the ACLU...

    North Carolina Bill Would Make Prescription Records Available to Police Without a Warrant

    America’s opioid epidemic is a grave public health issue, one that experts and a growing national consensus say we need to approach with solutions based in science and treatment. Unfortunately, some lawmakers haven’t gotten the memo and want to continue with the failed and inhumane strategies of the past: harsher penalties, overcriminalization, and the erosion of people’s rights.

    The latest example comes from North Carolina. A new proposal ostensibly aimed at combatting the opioid crisis would give local law enforcement sweeping, unprecedented power to look through a person’s entire history of prescription drug use if they are under investigation for any drug crime, even possessing a tiny amount of any controlled substance.

    Like in most states, in North Carolina people’s prescription records are stored in two places: at the pharmacy itself and in the state’s Controlled Substance Reporting System, a secure database that tracks controlled substance prescriptions in order to give doctors better information about their patients’ needs. State law currently imposes restrictions on law enforcement access to both of these sources in order to safeguard patients’ private medical information against unjustified search.

    Sponsors of the North Carolina bill say unfettered access to the database will help law enforcement “in their efforts to investigate and prosecute individuals who obtain legal prescription medication by illegal means, as well as those who distribute illicit medication and illegal opioids.” But this bill, the first of its kind in the nation, is much broader in scope.

    First, it erodes civil liberties by eliminating the requirement for law enforcement to obtain a court order before searching someone’s prescription records in the database, a crucial protection for our constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, the ACLU has gone to court to argue that the Fourth Amendment requires police to get a search warrant based on probable cause before accessing prescription database records.

    Second, it opens up a person’s entire history of prescription records at the pharmacy after a single drug charge. Arrested on suspicion of possessing a little marijuana? Under the North Carolina bill, law enforcement could look at your entire pharmaceutical history, without any warrant or court order. Do you use birth control? Take medication to treat depression or anxiety? Ever taken antibiotics to treat a sexually transmitted disease? North Carolina law enforcement would get to know all that and more.

    Giving law enforcement officers the power to snoop around people’s medicine cabinets without any oversight will do little to combat the opioid epidemic. Rather, it would violate the rights of innocent people and further stigmatize people with substance abuse issues, making it harder for them to receive proper treatment. That’s why it’s been opposed by groups like the North Carolina Substance Use Disorder Federation and Addiction Professionals of North Carolina, which called the bill a “backwards culture shift away from treating substance use disorder as a disease and toward criminalizing illness.”

    As currently devised, the state’s Controlled Substance Reporting System allows pharmacists and doctors to see what prescriptions a patient has already been given in order to prevent over-prescription. The program was envisioned as a way to identify individuals with substance use disorders and refer them to treatment. And law enforcement can already access that database with a court order.

    Expanding law enforcement’s access to pharmacy records while eroding privacy protections, however, could open the entire system to abuse. We know this from experiences in other states.

    In 1996, Utah began tracking controlled substance prescriptions in the Utah Controlled Substance Database. Although the program was intended to help prevent drug abuse, it was discovered in 2014 that a Utah detective used the database to access the prescription records of all 480 employees in Utah’s largest fire agency without judicial oversight and improperly charged at least two employees with crimes they did not commit based on misinterpretation of their prescription histories.

    In response, Utah’s legislature amended the law in 2015, requiring law enforcement officers to obtain a probable cause warrant from a court before they can gain access to the database. Many other states now require a warrant or court order based on probable cause in order for law enforcement to access prescription drug information.

    When devising strategies to address the opioid crisis, lawmakers should focus on public health solutions endorsed by the medical and treatment communities. Giving law enforcement officers more power to violate people’s rights and trample on our cherished civil liberties is never the answer.

    Bill in question:

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  3. #2
    something, something, persons, places, and something...

    the ONLY amendment they care about is the 16th.

    why I should worship the state (who apparently is the only party that can possess guns without question).
    The state's only purpose is to kill and control. Why do you worship it? - Sola_Fide

    Baptiste said.
    At which point will Americans realize that creating an unaccountable institution that is able to pass its liability on to tax-payers is immoral and attracts sociopaths?

  4. #3
    Doesn't that violate some other federal law?
    "There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought."~~Charles Kingsley

  5. #4
    So a spouse or loved one will not be able to get that info without your authorization because of HIPPA laws but the police will have it readily available.

  6. #5
    People will just score their medication on the street where there supplier will keep their information confidential.

  7. #6
    Long history behind this one. I killed this effort almost single handedly in 2011 by screaming bloody murder and making it too embarrassing to push.

    I THOUGHT there was an article about the current effort here on RPFs about ... a month or so ago? But after a search it turns out that discussion was on fedbook with some GOP County Chairs, who mostly took my side of the argument.

    It passed unanimously out of the Senate on 5/11, and it's on the House Calendar for today.

    The piece referred to in the headline is section 8, starting on page 3 line 36.

    In 2011, the attempt was to give access to Sheriffs. Today, this would give access to a "Certified diversion investigator" which is allegedly segregated from the Sheriff.

    It's better than the 2011 one, but it's still sick and disgusting.

  8. #7
    Strike that "better," they stuck the Sheriff access in section 11 page 6 line 22. So it's even WORSE than 2011.

    It looks like it will be heard around 4:30 5pm ish, and there is a committee substitute as well as a number of amendments to consider.

    Craig Horn's (unsurprisingly) first amendment makes it even worse, adding in access for ALL local law enforcement, and lowers the standards to "good-faith"

    Horn's second Amendment simply swaps out a term already addressed in the PCS.

    Murphy's Amendment deals exclusively with regulating telepsychiatry.

    Steven's Amendment just changes the effective dates of Sections 2 through 7 from July of 2018 to December of 2018.

  9. #8
    Looks like they tried to do this in 2010 also.

    Apparently they have been trying to do this for a while and they finally have the opioid "crisis" to make it happen.

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  11. #9
    Also worth noting, the bill I killed in 2011, was then implemented piecemeal in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The current act merely consolidates and expands that existing law.

  12. #10

    CBD oil is legal in NC as long as it contains less than a percent of THC. Now if you use CBD oil you have to dispose of your bottles with the cops. SMDH

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