Snooping Sheriffs Bad for Treatment

personal medical record The News Observer reported on Sept. 8 that the North Carolina Sheriffs? Association wants access to information contained in a State prescription database about any person in the state who has a prescription for a narcotic pain medicine. The Association claims if they have this information it will be easier for them to make drug arrests.

This is an outrageous and dangerous threat to good medical care and addiction treatment.

Only physicians should know about all the medications a patient is taking, and should use that information to guide their decisions about care. Electronic medical records will provide this information and prevent medication errors that now hurt patients.

However, many people will rebel against allowing their information to be put in an electronic record — or will be afraid to get medications they need — if they fear that a sheriff may come snooping.

We need strong federal protection and penalties against the misuse of personal medical information.

The use and management of medications must be between a patient and physician only.

David Rosenbloom is Director of Join Together.

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