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What are the consequences of violating SAMHDA's Terms of Use?

Researchers who participate in surveys and other research instruments distributed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) expect their responses to remain confidential. The data distributed by SAMHDA are for statistical analysis and may not be used to identify specific individuals or organizations. SAMHSA takes steps to assure that subjects cannot be identified. Data users are also obliged to act responsibly and not to violate the privacy of subjects intentionally or unintentionally.

If SAMHSA determines that the Terms of Use agreement has been violated, then possible sanctions could include:

  • Report of the violation to the research integrity officer, institutional review board, or human subjects review committee of the user's institution. A range of sanctions are available to institutions including revocation of tenure and termination.
  • If the confidentiality of human subjects has been violated, then report of the violation may be made to the federal Office for Human Research Protections. This may result in the investigation of the user's institution, which can result in institution-wide sanctions including the suspension of all research grants.
  • Report of the violation of federal law to the U.S. Attorney General for possible prosecution.
  • Court awarded payments of damages to any individual(s)/organization(s) harmed by the breach of confidential data.
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