Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rifling Our Drug Drawers

Really, 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.

Allowing sheriffs’ offices and other law enforcement officials to use the state’s computerized list would vastly widen the circle of people with access to information on prescriptions written for millions of people. As it stands now, doctors and pharmacists are the main users.

Have these guys never heard of the fourth amendment?  It’s one thing if you have an existing case and what to add information to it.  But to go fishing for cases ... that’s not what these databases are intended for.

As you can imagine, Radley Balko is all over this:

I’m sure there are examples of both misbehaving doctors and patients. But in the past, law enforcement officials’ definition of over-prescribing has sharply diverged from that of pain professionals. High-dose opiate therapy, a promising new treatment for chronic pain, has basically been cut off at the knees because of high-profile cases in which DEA officials, U.S. attorneys, and state and local law enforcement with no medical training have taken it upon themselves to decide what is and isn’t appropriate treatment.

The DEA has prosecuted doctors based on a secret formula known only to them that dictates what “appropriate” medication levels are.  No doubt, they want, using local officials as their duck blind, to get a database, apply that formula and start handing out warrants.  However, the very idea of a single standard for pain therapy is absurd since patients have different pain tolerances, different opiate tolerances and different severities of conditions.

The sheriffs are scrambling to justify this, as they do with all War on Drugs bullshit.  They are claiming more people die from pain killer overdoes than homicides, which I severely doubt.  I have no doubt there are addicts.  And having dealt with prescription pain addicts in offices, I can attest that it is ugly and sad.  But it’s a medical problem, not a criminal one.

This should be fair warning about all databases, though.  Our law enforcement officials see these online databases—for guns, prescriptions, terrorism or whatever—as areas immune from second amendment protection.  They really don’t believe in electronic freedom.  And, unfortunately, we have a President who has zero interest in protecting our civil liberties (Our nobel President just successfully argued in court that there never be any hearing on extraordinary rendition and torture; even if classified information is kept out of the courtroom.  I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again: what is the fucking point of electing Democrats if they’re just going to join Republicans in pissing all over civil liberities?)

We need the Tea Partiers to starting standing up to this bullshit, too.  If we’re reclaiming our country and our Constitution, egregious violations of civil liberties need to be met with the same fierce opposition as debt and spending.  Because it’s becoming clear that no one in power is in our side anymore when it comes to freedom.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/10/10 at 03:30 AM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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