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Larissa Doucette

Developed to help fight prescription drug abuse, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has launched an online prescription monitoring program (PMP) to provide controlled substance prescription dispensing history to authorized health care providers and law enforcement. The PMP, known as Prescription Access in Texas (PAT), has been available to a select group of health care providers, including pharmacists, as well as law enforcement professionals since June 2012, and access has now been expanded to include additional physicians and law enforcement, mid-level practitioners, and medical board and nursing board investigators, as noted in a DPS press release. DPS indicates that additional users will continue to be phased in over the next two months, and that pharmacists and pharmacy board investigators are on track to acquire access to the system in mid-August. The original Texas PMP was launched in 1982 and provided authorized users with access to PMP information through a manual paper process. The new PAT online version of the database allows instant, 24/7 access to authorized users. Texas law requires that the PAT database includes Schedule II-Schedule V drugs for the last 12 months only. Pharmacists are required to report prescription data within seven days of the prescription being filled. Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw stated that the “new tool will allow a proactive approach to prevention, assist with criminal investigations, provide historical reporting and identify trends.”