Texas has launched an online prescription monitoring database, building on a long-standing program that was criticized for being slow and requiring paperwork.
The new program, called “Prescription Access in Texas,” gives law enforcement and health care professionals quick access to a database of controlled substances that have been dispensed to patients. The database shows what medications a patient has received in the state in the past year, the Associated Press reports. Until now, it could take days, or longer, to access that information.
The Texas Department of Public Safety made the online database available to a small group in June, and expanded it in August.
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem, and the new online prescription drug monitoring program will help the state of Texas combat this issue,” Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said in a news 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.”