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The Secret Life Of 42 CFR Part 2
By Rose Jade
What Every Defender And Investigator Needs To Know About Patient Records From Federally Funded Drug Or Alcohol Treatment Centers
An important legal right — some refer to it as a godsend — may be quietly languishing in the discovery file that the prosecutor sent over to your office last week. Or it may be gasping for breath, buried deep in one of the dozens of file boxes that you are charged to review in preparation of your client’s direct or post-conviction appeal. The right, as currently codified, states in relevant part:
42 U.S.C. 290dd-2 Confidentiality of patient records.
(c)) Use of records in criminal proceedings. Except as authorized by a court order granted under subsection (b)(2)(c)), no record referred to in subsection (a) may be used to initiate or substantiate any criminal charges against a patient or to conduct any investigation of a patient.
The magic words to look for are 42 CFR Part 2, a reference to the rule that implements the code cited above. If you’re really lucky
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