Private patient data compromised in Volusia County



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A statewide database that has been at the center of controversy since it was first drawn up more than four years ago is being linked to the release of more than 3,000 patient records in Volusia County.

The state is tracking personal patient information in an ongoing effort to combat prescription-drug abuse.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, thousands of sensitive records have been compromised, with the paper trail leading back to central Florida.

In the name of breaking Florida's prescription-pill mills, the state has been tracking medications. It appears there has been a major leak.

"It's unconscionable that this information is in the hands of third parties," said Maria Kayanan with ACLU of Florida.

The ACLU is requesting public records from the Florida Department of Health and the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, asking why confidential prescription-drug records of more than 3,000 Floridians were released without the patients' knowledge.

The ACLU said prescription history, patient names, addresses and birthdates of people who had done nothing wrong were obtained by Volusia County prosecutors and defense attorneys.

"We don't know where the chain ends; we certainly know where it begins," Kayanan said.

The ACLU said the attorneys in the cases had no legal right to know which law-abiding citizens are taking which prescribed medications.

"When you end up with 3,300 names as a result of one investigation and end up with six criminal prosecutions, that's a problem," Kayanan said.

So far the state has not released its records.