ACLU of RI executive director Steven Brown issued the following statement in response to Governor Raimondo's signing of a bill yesterday giving law enforcement access to the Department of Health's prescription database without a warrant:
"The ACLU is deeply disappointed in the Governor’s decision to sign the so-called 'medicine cabinet' bill, giving law enforcement officials the ability to obtain without a warrant Rhode Islanders’ private prescription drug information from a Department of Health database.
"People expect the Department of Health to protect the privacy of medical information, not to hand it over to police without judicial authority.The Health Department’s willingness to act as an arm of law enforcement is a serious breach of trust and makes it hard to take seriously any future assurances from them of their commitment to protecting patient confidentiality. The collaboration envisioned by this new law is particularly troubling in light of the overwhelming consensus from medical providers that it will be a hindrance, not a help, in addressing the opioid crisis. It is sad to see the privacy rights of all Rhode Islanders being sacrificed to no good purpose."
The ACLU of RI and 20 other organizations urged the Governor to veto this bill. More information about that effort is available here.