ACT NOW! Action Alert: Tell SAMHSA to Protect Privacy Rights of Addiction Treatment Patients

National Action Alert

Tell SAMHSA to Protect Privacy Rights of Patients in Substance Use Treatment Programs!

DEADLINE June 25, 2014


On May 12, 2014, the federal government announced that it is considering changing the 40-year-old regulations (known as 42 C.F.R. Part 2) that protect the confidentiality of patients’ alcohol and drug treatment records. At a Public Listening Session held on June 11, 2014 by SAMHSA (the federal agency that oversees the regulations), many witnesses called for eliminating or substantially reducing these privacy protections.

SAMHSA is currently accepting written comments, and it is important for as many individuals and organizations as possible to write to SAMHSA telling it to maintain the core provisions of the confidentiality regulations.

Message to SAMHSA:

42 C.F.R. Part 2’s core privacy protections MUST be maintained.  While behavioral health care should be integrated with physical health care, and communication between health care providers should be encouraged, the regulations’ protections are as necessary today as they were when they were issued in the 1970s in light of ongoing stigma and discrimination faced by people with substance use disorders.

42 C.F.R. Part 2 enables people with substance use disorders to seek treatment without fear of exposure of their treatment records—without their permission—to law enforcement, employers, insurers, other health care providers, or others. Changes to the regulations would threaten these critical patient protections.

Action Needed:

SAMHSA is accepting written comments on the proposed changes until June 25, 2014. Write to SAMHSA by June 25, 2014 and tell it to maintain these critical protections for people with substance use disorders!

The Legal Action Center has created a template that you can use to submit comments to SAMHSA. We will also circulate our detailed comments when they are completed.

You may submit comments using any of the following methods:

  • Mail: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1 Choke Cherry Road, Rockville, MD 20857, Room 5-1011.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: 1 Choke Cherry Road, Rockville, MD 20857, Room 5-1011 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.
  • Email: [email protected].
  • Fax: 1-240-276-2900.
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