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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Law Enforcement Denied Prescription Drug Database Access

Despite the fact that Vermont receives federal funding to operate their prescription drug database, police have been denied access to it which is somewhat surprising to say the least. As more and more states activate prescription drug databases there has been a lingering question as to whether or not law enforcement would have access to them.

The state of Vermont’s Department of Health is in charge of the database which has been designed to help physicians, and not to routinely identify people who are abusing drugs, according to Barbara Cimaglio, Deputy Commissioner for Substance Abuse. there has only been two occasions where the state Health Commissioner advised the Public Safety Commissioner of findings from the database, according to the Burlington Free Press.

However, a change of how things are done is desired by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. He told the newspaper his administration is considering reforming the law so that law enforcement has access to the database.

Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn believes that allowing access to the database would slow down the growing epidemic. “It would make a difference,” he said. “There’s information on it that we need. We wouldn’t go in there on a fishing expedition. We’d do it in a responsible manner.”

Prescription monitoring programs in seven states are run by law enforcement, according to the article. In most states police are allowed access to data in the system if a judge or other entity finds it is warranted.

When it comes to matters of addiction it is understandable that police would not have access, but, when it comes to drug tourist and “pill pushers” it is another thing all together. People buying large quantities of prescription narcotics should be monitored by law enforcement. In every case regarding medicine and health records there needs to be privacy; however, a number of people who are prescribed medications are getting their prescriptions solely to sell them.

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