The DEA is suing states for warrantless access to millions of individuals' medical records, so they can inflict more misery on people in chronic pain or other legitimate needs for controlled substances.
In his 2014 ruling against the DEA, District Court Judge Ancer L. Haggerty called warrantless searches of such data an egregious invasion of privacy.
“It is difficult to conceive of information that is... more deserving of Fourth Amendment protection,” Haggerty said. “By obtaining the prescription records for individuals like John Does 2 and 4, a person would know that they have used testosterone in particular quantities and by extension, that they have gender identity disorder and are treating it through hormone therapy.
“Although there is not an absolute right to privacy in prescription information... it is more than reasonable for patients to believe that law enforcement agencies will not have unfettered access to their records,” he added.
The Obama administration disagrees, and argues that since the records have already been submitted to a third party (Oregon’s PDMP) that patients no longer enjoy an expectation of privacy.