Compliance Is Doable! A Framework for Navigating Privacy Regulations in Public Health and Public Safety Partnerships

J Public Health Manag Pract. 2022 Nov-Dec;28(Suppl 6):S367-S371. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000001572.


The past decade witnessed an explosion of public health/public safety collaborations. Many emerged as pragmatic responses to the opioid epidemic, where communities struggled to help individuals at risk of fatal and nonfatal overdoses. Multidisciplinary programs formed to actively engage people with services, including harm reduction, treatment, and peer support, instead of arrest. These initiatives blur traditional lines between public safety, health, treatment, and services. Novel applications of HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2 created confusion, sometimes discouraging new ways of doing business and other times leading to a disregard for individual privacy protections in the interest of "doing the right thing." Neither is ideal. In this article, the authors present a framework for collaborations to navigate issues related to privacy, review relevant laws, provide a practical application to public health/public safety partnerships, and offer practice pointers. With this resource, stakeholders are empowered to create effective and compliant overdose response programs.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Overdose* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Privacy*
  • Public Health