Utah’s Prescription Drug Database Used Less by Police

Utah’s Controlled Substance Database Program

One fear of many Utah doctors is that patients will go to multiple doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions for the same drug.  The prescription drugs can then be abused or be sold illegally to other people.  To fight against this “doctor shopping,” the Utah State Legislature in 1995 created the Controlled Substance Database (CSD) Program and assigned the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) to maintain the database.  The CSD requires doctors and pharmacies to record drugs prescribed to any individual receiving a prescription.  This allows doctors and pharmacies to check the CSD to see if people are receiving multiple prescriptions for the same drugs.  This helps to cut down on the doctor shopping problem and helps people to avoid being charged with distribution or possession of a controlled substance crime.

Police Abuse of the CSD

The problem with the CSD was that it was easily accessible by police officers.  Whenever someone was being investigated for a drug crime police officers would often use the database to access the personal information of the investigated individual to help bolster their suspicion of a drug offense.  This information would often be used to obtain the probable cause needed to obtain a search warrant or an arrest warrant.

It became routine for police officers to check the CSD.  A legislative audit of police use of the CSD revealed police officers accessed the database on several occasions when there was no justifiable reason to access the information.  Because of the potential violation of people’s privacy, a law was passed this year that required police and prosecutors to first obtain a warrant to access information from the CSD.  Before the new law, police accessed the database on average 238 times a month.  After the new law went into effect police only accessed the CSD 12 times a month.  The law obviously cut down on the use of the CSD because police are no longer given unfettered access.  The restriction for access is a good thing and it helps ensure people’s medical information is kept private.

Fight Your Drug Charges

If you are being charged with distribution or possession of a controlled substance in the Provo/Orem area contact a Criminal Defense Provo lawyer today.  Our lawyers can help determine if evidence was obtained illegally against you and help you fight your drug charges.  If evidence against you was obtained illegally, it may be possible to have the evidence thrown out.  Call 801.900.3371 to speak with a criminal defense lawyer today.

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