Doctor, Your Secrets Are Safe With DEA

About two years ago I began a chronicle of a colleague's difficult and costly run-in with DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) during his buprenorphine audit. When the agency refused to provide him with information about his audit I agreed to try to help.

In October of 2010 I filed a Freedom of Information Act demand for records of his audit and that of another physician. Almost 1.5 yrs later I am told by a Cynthia Chasten at DEA/DOJ that the federal government considers such info "personal" even though it involves investigation for possible wrongdoing. They would only release the information if provided with "proof of death or an original notarized authorization" and the physician's social security number, citing "Exemptions (b)(6),(b)(7)(C),(b)(7)(D),(b)(7)(F) and/or of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 U.S. Section 552." He was willing to do all but provide his social security number.

I am so relieved to know DEA guards the privacy of registered physicians so diligently.

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