The Palm Beach Post political blog reports the American Civil Liberty Union of Florida is seeking a federal probe into a breach of the state’s drug database.
The ACLU asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to examine the state’s prescription drug database after the leaking of medication histories of 3,300 patients to lawyers in a narcotics sting last month. The civil rights group blames different groups for violating Floridians’ privacy, including the state Department of Health, the U.S. DEA; the office of R.J. Larizza, state attorney for the Seventh Judicial Circuit; in addition to other entities and individuals.
The DOH manages the “E-FORCSE” (Electronic Florida On-Line Registry of Controlled Substances Evaluation Program) database, where the ACLU claims is the source of the privacy data. The most notable aspect of the claim, according to ACLU lawyer Maria Kayanan, is that law enforcement has “too much freedom” when searching through the database. She maintains there in s no accountability for its misuse and abuse.
Attorney General Pam Bondi maintains the database contributed declines in prescription drug overdoses and a sharp drop in “doctor shopping.” Gov. Rick Scott initially opposed the program, citing privacy concerns, but then gave in and signed off on $500,000 in state funds for the E-FORCSE database.