PDMP searches by law enforcement

PDMP searches by law enforcement – Twitter thread from Health in Justice Action Lab @HiJAction

New from @ACLU_Mass & our lab: We FOIA’d @MassDPH for instances of law enforcement searching patients’ Prescription Drug Monitoring data. We found Federal, State, and Local law enforcement conducted thousands of searches of sensitive patient medical records. /1

Mass. State law enforcement conducted the most searches (5,000+). These data show what substances patients are prescribed, from hormones to opioids.

Doctors/pharmacists use data to inform practice, but so does law enforcement to build cases. /2

Below is a chart showing over 2,000 law enforcement searches for prescriber & pharmacy data.

Doctors’ prescribing is under increased scrutiny from the DEA. There are documented “chilling effects,”e.g. patients being abandoned, unable to access care or re-fill their Rx. /3

This graph compares searches for MAVEN (web-based surveillance system) and the MassPAT PDMP system. Law enforcement has searched these data, which contain sensitive clinical information, over 14,000 times. /4

Data  and graphics brought to you by @onekade, @ACLU_Mass, and researchers at @HiJAction, @LeoBeletsky, @AnnieBoustead, @ZachWritesStuff, @bowlinearl & @natematia. Stay tuned for

more reports about patient privacy in the age of mass surveillance and the overdose crisis. /fin

12 thoughts on “PDMP searches by law enforcement

  1. Carl Dobs

    In spite of these searches the deaths from illicit drug poisonings are going up exponentially while legitimate opioid prescriptions are falling. I guess the investigators don’t know what to look for.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
          1. canarensis

            well hell, my friend: sorry about that! Maybe we can turn the vile image into something different…like, if our lives had taken different courses & we’d had personality & morality transplants, we too could be illegal drug dealers enjoying the hell out of these new days! Ain’t it fun?!?!
            didja see these two gems: (one sorta positive, one reeeeeallly not)?:
            https://www.foxnews.com/health/as-opioids-become-taboo-doctors-taper-down-or-abandon-pain-patients-driving-many-to-suicide?fbclid=IwAR0j6izUYiR4N91zHaMJIZB7aAV3yGMdv5FQoQaBP33RrR0geE7ihiJxYp0
            The really bad:
            https://www.wkbw.com/news/roswell-park-to-implement-radical-opioid-reduction-policy-in-2019
            (somehow I’m not surprised that the first conditions they mention about nixing pain meds are gynecological).

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
            1. Zyp Czyk Post author

              Yes, the first one is great – I’ll probably post it when I get home. The 2nd one is scary. I think they’re going to run into a revolt when the start treating cancer without opioids for the pain.

              Cancer pain has always been “special”, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this crosses a line. Then again, they’ve crossed so many lines by now, like interfering in the practice of medicine.

              I’m really surprised that the AMA didn’t speak up sooner. This finally proves they don’t give a hoot about patients, as we’ve always suspected.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Tamera Lynn Stewart

    I would love to know the date ranges that these searches occurred in. It says the FOIA was filed in 2017 and then the range says 2016-2018 but this year isn’t over yet. I assume this information was just recently released to the ACLU, and I look forward to learning more information about this.

    Thank you for sharing this information, I always know that your site will have about anything I am looking for!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      Thank you for your compliment!

      I’m not sure about the dates either. Any data for 2018 would have to be preliminary and incomplete. I’m sure law enforcement looks at PDMPs all the time since they don’t even need a warrant for it.

      They just peruse it to find the top prescribers and then raid the doctors’ offices in full battle gear, like it was a drug cartel they were after, not a doctor with a waiting room full of patients.

      They’re too frightened to chase real drug dealers, so they do armchair searches and “safe” drug-busts where they don’t have to face anyone dangerous. Doctors don’t shoot back, drug dealers do.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Pingback: DEA says prescription records not private | EDS and Chronic Pain News & Info

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