While the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers closely monitors legislative and regulatory activity at the national level, there are situations when we also comment on state legislative activity, such as when it sets a precedent or violates NAATP policy.
This is why we urge our members in Florida to pay attention to provisions in SB 870. This bill would allow medical records for some Substance Use Disorder patients to be accessible to prosecutors. Patients must feel confident that they may share their history openly with treatment professionals without fear of recrimination. NAATP believes that those records should only be made available to medical and treatment professionals with express consent of the patient.
Florida SB 870 would amend the Marchman Act, which regulates involuntary treatment commitments. The bill would make the State Attorneys the interested party, rather than the families of those with Substance Use Disorders, which would then allow the State Attorneys to have access to the records of all of these patients.
While we are certain many State Attorneys would handle this information in an appropriate way, with the recovery of the patient as the primary goal, there would inevitably be those who would use the information to prosecute these patients. This would be a limiting factor for those patients who fall under the Marchman Act to seek treatment for serious Substance Use Disorders.
If this issue is concerning to you, we urge you to contact your Florida state legislators and ask that this provision in SB 870 be removed (Link to find your state legislators). The bill is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.