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DEA Tramples Fourth Amendment

Feds No Longer Need Search Warrants!

Written by Jeff Siegel
Posted February 3, 2013

Disloyal to the king?

In 18th century England, those who were suspected of such a crime could have their homes ransacked by government officials that served what was called a “general warrant.”

This general warrant gave the king's goons the authority to break into a home and gather evidence. They could go anywhere in the home and take whatever they wanted.

When the writers of the Constitution created the Fourth Amendment, they did so in a fashion that would disallow the issuance of general warrants.

This is why the Fourth Amendment includes the following:

... and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Of course, these days those words don't mean much, as government officials no longer need a warrant to invade your home, office, or personal privacy.

They simply see the Fourth Amendment as optional — and conduct illegal searches and seizures as if this were 18th century England all over again.

No Warrant? No Problem!

In an effort to help physicians prevent overdoses and uncover any signs of drug abuse, the state of Oregon created the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) back in 2009. This program essentially monitors prescriptions for a variety of drugs that are distributed by Oregon pharmacies.

Now as you can imagine, this kind of information is deemed highly sensitive. So lawmakers require law enforcement to obtain warrants if they want to use that information for an investigation.

The DEA, however, has ignored this requirement — and has been using administrative subpoenas to request prescription records.

You see, unlike warrants, you don't need to demonstrate probable cause to a judge with an administrative subpoena...

Of course, there are a handful of folks in Oregon who aren't taking this lying down. The state of Oregon has already sued the DEA to require warrants, and there are a number of patients now involved in this one, too.

Attorney Nathan Wessler recently explained the case:

Our clients are concerned that the privacy of their medical information will be violated if the DEA is allowed to search through prescription records without a warrant. If the DEA can demonstrate to a judge that it has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that prescription records will provide evidence of that crime, then it can legitimately obtain records from the PDMP.

Because prescription records and the medical information they reveal are such a sensitive matter, protecting their privacy is vital, and we argue that obtaining private and confidential prescription records without a warrant constitutes an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Overcrowded Prisons, Overcrowded Morgues

While the DEA ignores both the Fourth and Tenth Amendments in their quest to do whatever the hell they want, whenever the hell they want, it's also been very busy courting officials over at the FDA.

As you may already know, the DEA recently convinced the folks over at the FDA to tighten restrictions on certain painkillers. It turns out painkillers containing hydrocodone are the most abused prescription drugs in the nation. In fact, I recently read that painkillers now kill more U.S. citizens than cocaine and heroin combined.

So the government is now looking to reclassify hydrocodone from a Schedule III drug to a Schedule II drug, which is considered a drug that has a high potential for abuse. Schedule II drugs require that refills can only be available with a written prescription from a medical doctor.

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While I certainly agree that drug abuse continues to weigh on the health and productivity of our nation, I'm not convinced the folks in Washington really know what they're doing here.

As analyst Matt Bewig recently wrote:

Critics point out that Oxycodone has been on Schedule II since the beginning, yet abuse is rampant. They also said the change could create unfair obstacles for patients in chronic pain, especially the elderly and those in nursing homes for whom the paper prescription requirement would require difficult trips to a doctor's office. The requirement that an M.D. sign the prescription will also have an especially harsh impact in rural areas, where doctors are often scarce.

I'm not saying I know the answer, but I do know the federal government has spent more than $1 trillion on the War on Drugs. This "war" has spilled our blood and treasure with nothing to show for it other than overcrowded prisons and morgues.

So I highly doubt such a move is going to fix this nation's painkiller abuse problems (and if history serves as any indicator, with the government involved, it will likely exacerbate the problem).

As Bewig pointed out: “Given that the DEA has failed to prevent Schedule I drugs like heroin and marijuana, which are outright banned, and failed to stem abuse of Schedule II drugs like Oxycodone, why should anyone believe that this will do anything to reduce abuse of Hydrocodone?”

Certainly a valid point, and one that needs to be scrutinized as we continue to rely on an incompetent government that seems hell-bent on creating the illusion of safety to bolster its own control.

Think about it...

  • Placing further restrictions on those who don't use painkillers recreationally to protect you from drug abusers

  • Banning certain types of weapons and ammunition to protect you from a few irresponsible gun owners and plenty of criminals who buy their weapons illegally

  • Raiding peaceful medial marijuana dispensaries in states where they are legal to protect you from the spread of illegal drugs

  • Monitoring private phone calls and emails to protect you from terrorists

  • Demanding identification at road stops because they're trying to protect us from an invasion of illegal immigrants (You know who else used to demand papers from its citizens? The Soviets!)

These are not random events; these are carefully calculated tactics being used to further restrict liberty.

And although I don't believe every person at the DEA has unethical motives, and some really do want to curb painkiller abuse... making it harder for sick people to cope with excruciating pain is not the way to do so.

Live honorably, live free...

Jeff Siegel Signature 

Jeff Siegel for Freedom Watch

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