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ACLU Sues Over Drug Testing For Painkiller Patients

The ACLU of Indiana is suing the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana over new rules that require patients who are prescribed painkillers to be drug tested.

Prescription Drugs

Photo: Amanda Plasencia (Flickr)

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in Indiana, according to state officials.

New rules requiring doctors to order drug tests before prescribing painkillers have come under legal fire. The ACLU of Indiana filed a class action lawsuit against the Indiana Medical Licensing Board Wednesday.

ACLU director Ken Falk says the measure is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.

“When the state mandates that we get a drug test, the state is mandating what under the 4th Amendment is a search. And if the state is going to search us, there has to be some cause or some extraordinary circumstances, and there are not here,” Falk says.

Indiana lawmakers passed legislation last year that required the Medical Licensing Board to adopt a set of emergency rules. They’re intended to curb prescription drug abuse in Indiana.

Indiana Professional Licensing Agency spokesperson Sue Swayze says the rules are consistent with standard medical practices and pain management treatment.

“The medical licensing board received substantial public comment before adopting the rules on October 24th,” Swayze says.

A spokesman with the Indiana Attorney General’s office said in a statement that the attorney general will defend “the legal authority of the Indiana Medical Licensing Board to adopt rules physicians must follow in order to protect patients from harm.”

The rules took effect December 15th.

Jashin Lin

Jashin Lin is a reporter/videographer for WFIU and WTIU news. She has previously worked as a videographer/web producer for MO.gov and as a reporter/videographer for the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She studied multimedia journalism and information technology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. You can follow her on Twitter @jashinlin.

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  • miamiu

    My wife has had Failed Back surgery some 20 years ago and has to take pain medication. We’ve had no insurance and have to purchase these . The Doctor’s require she be tested to see if she’s taking them, over taking them or whatever?
    The price alone of the drugs is PLENTY but every couple months is the drug test which alone costs a couple hundred dollar’s! She can’t work and has not worked much before so she hasn’t paid much into the system, results are not covered by anybody. Not ANY income for her or help from any agency.
    I’m her husband and am now on Social Security and work part-time. I pay for everything. She has NEVER tested BAD on any of these tests. Yet she still is required to take them and PAY DEARLY for them. Is there NEVER a Time to test less because someone has never shown abuse of any kind? We’re going BROKE over OVER-TESTING!

  • Cynthia Ralls

    Chronic pain is a disability! This is a violation of the American Disability Act, the 4th Amendment, HIPPA, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and more. Access to adequate pain relief is a human right upheld by the World Health Organization. Despicable to think the ones sworn to care and protect us would be the ones to violate us when we are most vulnerable. This is reminiscent of the same type of stigma that HIV/AIDS patients once and sometimes still, endured however they weren’t threatened with nontreatment if they didn’t sign away their rights.

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