Monday, June 16, 2014

Tell SAMHSA Not To Violate Your Civil Right to Confidentiality

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release
Contact Persons: 
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director,
Roxanne Baker, President,
Phone/Fax: 212.595.NAMA  (212-595-62620)

Most hospitals and medical centers now have in operation what is called electronic health records or Health Information Technology (HIT).  Basically this means that doctors in their private offices, medical centers, pharmacies and state prescription monitoring programs all have access to your health records.   Records in methadone programs are excluded because of the Confidentiality Regulations (42 CFR Part 2).  For any information to leave the program a patient must sign a release that requires the request to be exact.

It is proposed that methadone programs be connected to the health information system theat would give any medical professional access to your drug treatment information. In fact medical professionals are not the only ones that could access your information either legally or illegally.


Do you want the right to develop a relationship with a medical professional and then if they are objective tell them you are enrolled in a methadone program?  Do you want the right to protect your treatment from insurance companies, employers, criminal justice systems – actually everyone?

Professionals and Policy Makers do not understand the stigma and prejudice that especially methadone patients experience in their daily lives.  Very often if you tell a doctor you are a methadone patient you get a lecture to get off methadone because it is bad for you with no medical care or treatment for what you came there for.  This is what they need to hear.  Your experiences when you try to get medical care outside of the program and how you feel that Confidentiality is Your Civil Right..

For information about 42 CFR Part 2 go to:           


Mail Comments to: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA, 1 Choke Cherry Road, Rockville, MD 20857, Room 5-1011.

Send By:  June 25, 2014 (if you mail after they should still accept it)
Read how the special confidentiality regulations came about The Case of People vs Newman
From Dr. Robert Newman's book about the New York City program this chapter is how the confidentiality regulations were created and put into effect.
Newman, Robert G. In:The Case of People vs Newman. (Chapter 6) Methadone Treatment in Narcotic Addiction: Program Management, Findings, and Prospects for the Future. New York: Academic Press; 1977: pp. 62.
Press Release Tell SAMHSA Not To Violate Your Civil Right Confidentiality.

What to Write to SAMHSA

1. Don't write a long letter. A simple paragraph to say that it is important that the confidentiality remain as they currently are.
2. You can tell them about an incident or situation like what usually happens when a doctor finds out you are a methadone patient.

3. It does not have to be typed. A hand written letter on legal pad paper is fine and often better because it means that the/a average patient has taken the time to say how important the confidentiality regulations.

4. You do not have to sign your name.  You can sign the letter as "A Patient" and below it enter a P.S. and say "I am afraid to sign my name because of the discrimination against methadone patients."



I understand that you are considering changing the confidentiality regulations for methadone treatment. It is important that the confidentiality regulations remain as they are and not be changed.

I am a methadone patient and I am concerned what could happen if my status as a methadone patient were known.  I know that I would have trouble getting medical care because doctors always blame any medical problem on the methadone. Doctors and nurses don't understand methadone and they tell me to get off.

I am also concerned that employers and schools will be able to find out that I am a methadone patient if changes to the confidentiality regulations happen.

Please don't change the confidentiality regulations that has protected me and all patients from the discrimination against us.

Thank you.
 A Patient*

*  I am afraid to sign my name because of the discrimination against methadone patients.

What is important is that you write.


No comments: