The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania opposes a prescription drug monitoring bill that will soon come before the Senate. Senate Bill 1180, sponsored by Senator Pat Vance, would create a new database program at the Department of Health to collect Pennsylvanians’ prescription medication records, if the substances fall on Schedules II-V of the federal controlled substances act. Most prescription medications fit that definition, according to a press release issued by the ACLU this morning.
The ACLU acknowledges revisions to the bill that they see as positive changes, but still say SB 1180 is flawed legislation and compromises the privacy of the patient. The monitoring does not address the intended problem- prescription pain-killer addiction, Citing a study by the United States Pain Foundation, the ACLU release says that 70% of the people addicted to pain medication are not the people who are being prescribed the pain-killers.
Also, the legislation allows prosecutors to access the database with the low standard of “reasonable suspicion.”
Supporters of SB 1180 say the bill provides enough oversight and privacy protection. But the ACLU maintains court oversight is irrelevant if the standard to grant access to prosecutors is weak.