UPDATED: Monday, August 6, 2012 - 7:59pm
CENTRAL TEXAS -- More than 15,500 people die every year from prescription drug overdose, leading the Centers for Disease Control to label drug abuse a national epidemic.
And Central Texas is not immune.
"We have a severe drug problem here in the state of Texas and some of the larger cities in Central Texas in all, we're seeing a big problem at," said Harpin Myers, Bell County State Trooper.
So the state launched an online prevention program called Prescription Access in Texas, or PAT.
"It's a proactive approach to look at the history on how many drugs and prescriptions were given out to each individual," said Myers.
It's an online database that allows quick access to information needed to identify potential drug abusers.
"When these people are using different names or different identification purposes this database and all that will track all this," said Myers.
The program's goal is to keep physicians from over-prescribing prescription drugs.
"As long as people see this stuff and they know there's a way to track it, you'll get that few percent that will not do this," said Myers.
This week the DPS extended program access to all mid-level health care and law enforcement agencies.
Over the next two months additional users like pharmacists, dentists, and veterinarian board investigators will also be phased in.