Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Surveillance State Grows

Aug 13, 2005 1:47 pm

The Surveillance State Grows

President Bush just signed a bill that would give grants to states to set up databases for the purpose of monitoring the prescription drugs of patients.

This is troubling, to say the least. What drugs I'm taking and the status of my personal health are, frankly, none of the government's damned business.

The database will serve two functions: First, it will allow the government to monitor for"doctor shopping," the term drug warriors give to patients who see multiple doctors to get prescription meds. The practice is indeed used by people who in turn sell some of those meds on the black market. But"doctor shoppers" can also be patients who can't find a doctor who will give them the medication they need in adequate doses -- chronic pain patients, for example. This bill will make it easier for states to create more pain martyrs like Richard Paey.

The other thing the bill will do is make it easier on states to crack down on people who get prescription pains from sources not recognized and authorized by the federal government -- namely overseas pharmacies or friends and family. A routine traffic stop in which the cop finds some leftover Percocet a friend gave you to help with your back spasms, for example, could now land you in trouble. Should a check of the state database reveal that you haven't been prescribed the stuff, you could be facing a charge of possessing a controlled substance, and your friend (should you turn him in) could be charged with distribution. Incidentally, that lending of Percocet is, by government guidelines, an incident of"prescription drug abuse." Keep that in mind when you read about the high-incidence of such"abuse" in the news.

Of course, the AP article on the bill doesn't mention any of these concerns, only the concern issued by one Congressman over the privacy of patients in the system. That's a valid objection, too.

Nevertheless, the bill passed by voice vote in the House, and by unanimous consent in the Senate. Your state government (and, inevitably, the federal government) will soon be able to monitor what medications you're taking.

And the bill became law with barely a whimper of protest.

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More Comments:

David T. Beito - 8/14/2005

Despite the early poll numbers, I don't think Gingrich has a chance to be a serious player in the presidential primaries. He may want desperately to be president (as McCain certainly does) but he has no constituency.

Peggy Arendt - 8/14/2005

could it be 1984?

stay tuned to see what big brother does next.....

Keith Halderman - 8/14/2005

I remember seeing Newt Gringich on a talk show awhile back being all proud of the way he had worked with Senator Clinton on this database issue. As of now she is the leading Democratic presidential candidate and he polled number two for the Republicans, right behind John, I do not like the 1st Amendament, McCain.