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Monday, August 6, 2012

Texas Rolls Out Online Prescription Monitoring Database

English: Seal of Texas
English: Seal of Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Individual states are working diligently to create a system to track and monitor prescriptions in order to reduce the number of deaths and accidental overdoses from prescription drug abuse. Additionally, states are trying to crackdown on individuals who not only "doctor shop" to obtain the prescriptions, but also illegally sell the pills to addicts.

The State of Texas is in the process of continuing the launch of their monitoring program which is called Prescription Access in Texas (PAT).  In August 2011 Texas introduced a pilot version of PAT. And in June 2012, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officially launched PAT and made it available to select group of practitioners, pharmacists and law enforcement professionals. Now this past week DPS extended the program access to additional physicians, more law enforcement personnel, mid-level practitioners, medical board and nursing board investigators.

The NBC affiliate KETK quotes the DPS Director Steven McCraw:
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem, and the new online prescription drug monitoring program will help the state of Texas combat this issue. 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 legislature has been proactive in monitoring prescription drug abuse.  In 1982 Texas introduced a manual paper process to investigate and prevent abuse. It was called the Texas Prescription Program. With the design and roll out of PAT the secure system is now online, available 24/7 and offers instant information.

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