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Edmund S. Higgins, MD, and R. Allan Powell, JD

Primary Psychiatry. 2005;12(1):53-56

Dr. Higgins is clinical professor of family medicine and psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Mr. Powell is assistant general counsel in the Department of Mental Health in Columbia, South Carolina.

Disclosure: Dr. Higgins is on the speaker’ bureaus of Cephalon, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and Wyeth. Mr. Powell reports no affiliation with or financial interest in any organization that may pose a conflict of interest.

Please direct all correspondence to: Edmund S. Higgins, MD, Department of Psychiatry, 1 Poston Rd,  Suite 145, Charleston, SC 29407; Tel: 843-556-4157; Fax: 843-763-8747; E-mail:


Focus Points

• Stimulants may be the most commonly abused psychiatric medication based on the percentage of abuse per prescription written.
• The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy rule creates a national minimum standard of confidentiality and accountability for medical information.
• HIPAA is not intended to impede good clinical care and actually has the potential to enhance the dissemination of treatment information among healthcare providers.
• In most cases, confidential information about prescription abuse can be communicated between healthcare providers even if the patient objects.