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Medical Privacy Laws Hampering Law Enforcement’s Efforts to Crack Down on Drug Deaths

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Law enforcement is struggling to crack down on growing drug abuse because of a lack of recent data on drug deaths, especially from heroin overdoses, NBC News reports.

The problem, which was raised at a gathering of law enforcement Wednesday to discuss drug abuse, is that patient privacy laws are making it difficult for authorities to gather information on patient deaths.

“I don’t care about the names of the individuals, I just need the numbers!” Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsay said at the Police Executive Research Forum.

Information also is lacking on what is sometimes referred to as “drop-offs” at emergency rooms.

Of particular concern is opiate-related deaths because of large spikes in the past two decades.


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