HB 2561 is signed into law in Texas.

AUSTIN, TX – Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 2561 last week, with provisions that strengthen the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) by requiring prescribers and dispensers to check the database before prescribing certain controlled substances.In addition, the bill requires dispensers to report the information after dispensing a controlled substance not later than the next business day after filling a prescription. Current law gives dispensers 7 days.

HB 2561 also contains positive provisions providing for automatic registration of prescribers in the PMP, as well as the periodic monitoring of prescribing patterns by the appropriate licensing agencies. In addition, it clarifies a pharmacist’s exclusive authority to determine if a drug should or should not be dispensed.  

“I want to thank Governor Abbott for signing HB 2561, an important step forward in tackling Texas’ opioid epidemic,” said Gary Mendell, the founder and CEO of Shatterproof. “The bill makes great progress, but more can and must be done to fight this public health crisis. We must ensure there are no loopholes in the state’s PMP that would put Texas families at risk from being shattered by addiction.”

More than 2,500 Texans die every year from opioid addiction. HB 2561 will provide doctors with information about other addictive medications their patients have already been prescribed before they choose to prescribe more, potentially fatal drugs or potentially fatal combinations of drugs.

However, the bill included certain loopholes that must be addressed. The blanket exemption for cancer patients puts them at risk for dying of an overdose both during and after their battle with cancer. It also puts them at risk for being prescribed a dangerous and deadly combination of drugs from more than one provider. All agree it is vitally important those suffering from cancer obtain the drugs they need to manage their pain, but it is no less important they be protected. In addition, exempting veterinarians from the bill allows doctor shoppers and drug dealers a clear avenue by which to obtain these addictive and dangerous medications.

Thankfully, the bill provides for a joint interim committee to further study the state’s PMP before the legislature convenes again in 2019. This is a golden opportunity to advocate for the closure of these loopholes and the further strengthening of the state’s PMP.  

“Having someone suffering from addiction in the family has been an eye-opening and life changing experience,” said Stephanie Weiss, Shatterproof ambassador and mother of a son suffering from addiction. “We’ve learned that those misusing drugs for nonmedical purposes tend to take the path of least resistance for acquiring those drugs. PMP helps address this problem, cutting down on prescription fraud and doctor shopping. I applaud the Texas legislature for taking this step and helping save lives in Texas.”

Please contact Kristen Hernandez at khernandez@skdknick.com if you would like to interview Gary Mendell or any of Shatterproof’s nationwide network of Ambassadors.

About Gary Mendell:

Gary Mendell is the founder and CEO of Shatterproof. Gary founded Shatterproof to spare others the tragedy his family suffered with the loss of his son Brian to addiction in 2011. Gary is an experienced businessman and CEO, who founded HEI Hotels & Resorts and is the former president of Starwood Lodging Trust.

About Shatterproof:

Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastation the disease of addiction causes families. Shatterproof works to end the stigma and foster a community of support for families. Shatterproof provides families with evidence-based resources to support prevention, treatment and recovery. Shatterproof advocates for changes in policy at the federal and state level and supports the development and implementation of evidence-based solutions for substance-use disorders.