DPS Tracks Drug Shoppers

Physicians can check patients' controlled substance prescription history through the Texas Department of Public Safety's (DPS') new secure online Prescription Access in Texas (PAT) database. The program – designed to reduce patients' prescription drug abuse – allows physicians and police to go online to see what controlled substances a patient has been prescribed in the past year.

DPS began testing PAT last August and, after pronouncing it successful, has made it available to physicians, law enforcement, midlevel practitioners, and medical board and nursing board investigators. The database includes Schedule II-Schedule V drugs for the last 12 months only. Pharmacists must report prescription data within seven days of filling a prescription.

"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," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "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 legislature created the original prescription drug monitoring program, now called the Texas Prescription Program, in 1982. Since then, authorized users have had to access this information through a paper process.

Texas law restricts access to prescription data to physicians, dentists, veterinarians, podiatrists, advanced practice nurses or physician assistants, and pharmacists inquiring about their patients and to various regulatory and law enforcement personnel conducting investigations.


 Action, Aug. 15, 2012 


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