WASHINGTON — The on-the-ground groups targeting the opioids crisis almost universally support Washington’s efforts to direct more resources and flexibility toward their work. But a new coalition is cautioning that one proposed federal change — supported both by lawmakers and the Trump administration’s opioid commission — could actually hurt the people they’re all trying to help.
At the center of the controversy: an effort to relax federal privacy rules for substance abuse treatments. The commission, led by Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, has suggested that relaxing those rules could ensure that doctors don’t prescribe opioids to patients who suffer from an opioid addiction they haven’t disclosed. The commission and some lawmakers have also suggested a need to relax those and other federal privacy rules to let doctors notify a family member when a person overdoses.