• Easier to get meds
    March 23,2012

    @Normal:Would you mind having your prescription medication history be available to the police simply for the asking?

    There is a bill in the Legislature that could make that happen.

    Under our law, the police may search an individual’s medical records if authorized by a judge. The police have to show probable cause of criminal activity to receive a search warrant. This protection is found in federal and state constitutional law. It not only protects our privacy in the criminal context, but keeps officials from gaining access to information that could be used against us for any embarrassing purpose.

    Widespread misuse of prescription pain medication is the reason some proponents of this bill want to dispense with probable cause warrant requirements. While the goal is laudable, the means are unnecessary. If police for good reason think a particular person is violating the law, a warrant is readily available.

    Law enforcement is trying to use the bill to gain authority to comb through our medical drug records, looking for suspects. Everyone in the database is a possible suspect. If you have had a series of toothaches, suffer from migraines, or are afflicted with chronic pain, you may have a prescription drug record that attracts police interest and identifies you as a possible suspect. The information may even leak to the community without the protection and accountability of a warrant requirement.

    Carving out an exception to privacy concerns for prescription drug records would most likely make privacy a thing of the past on any subject in this digital age.

    H.745 should require, in all cases, a judicial warrant to search for incriminating evidence of a drug offense.

    Jim Morse


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