Vermont police do not have access to the state’s prescription monitoring database, although the program receives funds from the federal Department of Justice.
The database is run by the state’s Department of Health to help physicians, and not to routinely identify people who are abusing drugs, according to Barbara Cimaglio, Deputy Commissioner for Substance Abuse. Only twice in four years has the state Health Commissioner advised the Public Safety Commissioner of findings from the database, according to the Burlington Free Press.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin wants that to change. He told the newspaper his administration is considering reforms that would include enhanced law enforcement access to the database.
Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn said greater access to information in the database would help police address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. “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. Most states allow police direct access to data in the system if a judge or other entity finds it is warranted.