State of Connecticut v. Russo

In State of Connecticut v. Russo (2002) 259 Conn. 436, 460 790 A.2d 1132, the Supreme Court of Connecticut held a patient's privacy rights were not violated under a state statute that allowed government officials with the duty to enforce state and federal controlled substance statutes to inspect prescription records. (Id. at p. 1146.) The local police department was investigating a defendant accused of multiple counts of forgery and obtaining controlled substances by forging a prescription. Pursuant to the challenged statute, an authorized law enforcement agent had obtained, with the pharmacists' consent, records of the defendant's prescriptions for controlled substances. The court, largely relying on Whalen, found the defendant's privacy rights had not been violated. (Id. at p. 1155.) The court in Russo noted that the Connecticut statutory scheme was indistinguishable from the statutes at issue in Whalen. (Russo, supra, 790 A.2d at pp. 1150-1151.) Specifically, both schemes safeguarded the privacy interest of the affected patients by restricting access to those records to a limited class of persons, and by prohibiting the dissemination of such information to the general public. (Ibid.) The court further observed that nothing in the court records in either case suggested that the law enforcement officials involved had failed to abide by the nondisclosure provisions, or that they would likely flout those provisions in the future. (Id. at p. 1151.)