DPS launches online prescription drug monitoring program to curb abuse

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DPS launches online prescription drug monitoring program to curb abuse

posted 08.21.12

The Regulatory Services Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety has developed and launched a secure online prescription monitoring program, Prescription Access in Texas (PAT), to assist Texas health care and law enforcement professionals in quickly identifying potential prescription drug abuse.

The program provides controlled substance prescription dispensing history to authorized medical practitioners including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, veterinarians, advance practice nurses, and physician assistants; to licensing board investigators for dental, medical, nursing, pharmaceutical, podiatry, and veterinary boards; and to law enforcement professionals.

Users of the program can search the last 365 days worth of data on patient prescription history and the physician’s own prescribing information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each registered user must provide licensing information to ensure data is released only to authorized users.

“Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem, and the new online prescription drug monitoring program will help the state of Texas combat this issue,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw in a press release. “It is essential that doctors and pharmacists have quick access to the information they need to identify potential prescription drug abusers and traffickers before they fraudulently receive the drugs. Law enforcement access to this information is also crucial to investigating those individuals or organizations engaged in the trafficking of prescription drugs. This new tool will allow a proactive approach to prevention, assist with criminal investigations, provide historical reporting and identify trends.”

The Texas Prescription Program was created by the Texas Legislature to monitor Schedule II-V controlled substances. The Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 481, restricts access to prescription data to practitioners and pharmacists who are inquiring about their patients, and to various regulatory and law enforcement personnel conducting investigations. Pharmacists must report prescription data within seven days of the prescription being filled.

In 1982 the Texas Legislature created the original prescription drug monitoring program, which is now called the Texas Prescription Program, as a tool for investigating and preventing drug diversion. Since then authorized users have accessed this information through a manual paper process. The new online version of the database represents a substantial upgrade by allowing instant access to authorize users.

For additional information about the PAT program, go to www.txdps.state.tx.us/RegulatoryServices/prescription_program.