A.   The board shall encourage research on misuse and abuse of controlled substances. In connection with the research, and in furtherance of the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act, it may register public agencies, institutions of higher education and private organizations or individuals for the purpose of conducting research, demonstrations or special projects which bear directly on misuse and abuse of controlled substances.   

B.   The board may authorize persons engaged in research on the use and effects of controlled substances to withhold the names and other identifying characteristics of individuals who are subjects of the research. Persons who obtain this authorization are not compelled in any civil, criminal, administrative, legislative or other proceeding to identify the individuals who are the subjects of research for which the authorization was obtained.   

C.   The board may authorize the possession and distribution of controlled substances by persons engaged in research. Such authorization shall contain the conditions and terms of the research to be conducted. Persons who obtain this authorization are exempt from state prosecution for possession and distribution of controlled substances to the extent of the authorization.   

D.   A practitioner engaged in medical practice or research shall not be required to furnish the name or identity of a patient or research subject to the board, nor may he be compelled in any state or local civil, criminal, administrative, legislative or other proceedings to furnish the name or identity of an individual that the practitioner is obligated to keep confidential.   

  History: 1953 Comp., § 54-11-39, enacted by Laws 1972, ch. 84, § 39.