ACLU can intervene in Utah drug database access lawsuit
A federal judge in Utah ruled that the American Civil Liberties Union could intervene in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s attempt to sift through Utah’s prescription drug database without obtaining a search warrant. Under Utah law, enforcement agencies need a warrant—not a subpoena, as the DEA has requested— before they can search the sensitive information.
The DEA had opposed the ACLU’s request to intervene in the case, saying it would interfere with its ongoing investigation of a Utah physician who may be funneling prescription drugs to organized crime. The judge will only allow the ACLU to weigh in on the warrant issue but the ACLU is satisfied with that limitation.
Utah’s database includes 70 million prescription records, and the DEA claimed in court that this ruling is the first to let an unaffiliated party intervene in an investigative subpoena action.