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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
Title 42: Public Health
§2.3 Purpose and effect.
(a) Purpose. Under the statutory provisions quoted in §§2.1 and 2.2, these regulations impose restrictions upon the disclosure and use of alcohol and drug abuse patient records which are maintained in connection with the performance of any federally assisted alcohol and drug abuse program. The regulations specify:
(1) Definitions, applicability, and general restrictions in subpart B (definitions applicable to §2.34 only appear in that section);
(2) Disclosures which may be made with written patient consent and the form of the written consent in subpart C;
(3) Disclosures which may be made without written patient consent or an authorizing court order in subpart D; and
(4) Disclosures and uses of patient records which may be made with an authorizing court order and the procedures and criteria for the entry and scope of those orders in subpart E.
(b) Effect. (1) These regulations prohibit the disclosure and use of patient records unless certain circumstances exist. If any circumstances exists under which disclosure is permitted, that circumstance acts to remove the prohibition on disclosure but it does not compel disclosure. Thus, the regulations do not require disclosure under any circumstances.
(2) These regulations are not intended to direct the manner in which substantive functions such as research, treatment, and evaluation are carried out. They are intended to insure that an alcohol or drug abuse patient in a federally assisted alcohol or drug abuse program is not made more vulnerable by reason of the availability of his or her patient record than an individual who has an alcohol or drug problem and who does not seek treatment.
(3) Because there is a criminal penalty (a fine—see 42 U.S.C. 290ee-3(f), 42 U.S.C. 290dd-3(f) and 42 CFR 2.4) for violating the regulations, they are to be construed strictly in favor of the potential violator in the same manner as a criminal statute (see M. Kraus & Brothers v. United States, 327 U.S. 614, 621-22, 66 S. Ct. 705, 707-08 (1946)).