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In the spring of 1981, a call was received at the Texas Pharmacy Association (TPA) from a past president of the Association that was later recognized as the starting point of the program. A young pharmacist had been arrested while under the influence of and in illegal possession of drugs in the reporting pharmacist’s community. The local pharmacists wanted to help the young man and were seeking advice on the best way to do so. As a result of the phone call, TPA’s Board of Councilors, under the chairmanship of Barry Blackmon of Texarkana, discussed the need of a program to address chemical abuse/dependency in the pharmacy profession. An ad hoc committee was made up of representatives from the Texas Stare Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) (ex-officio), the TPA Auxiliary and students from the three colleges of pharmacy (that existed at the time) in addition to a total of ten pharmacists who were selected to represent all areas of the state and types of pharmacy practice. The state committee was formed the following year and a grant was received from the Texas Department of Community Affairs, Drug Abuse Division to establish the program.
The first training session for interveners was held in the spring of 1983. On the advice of the Association’s attorney, legislation was sought and passed that granted civil liability immunity to those persons working with impaired pharmacists within the framework of the TPA Pharmacy Recovery Network (PRN) program. The amendment to the Texas Pharmacy Act was signed into law June 19, 1983. The first pharmacist to be accepted into the program was a female who entered in July 1983. In 1985, additional legislation was enacted that granted civil liability immunity to persons working with impaired pharmacy students who are in the professional sequence of courses.
In 2003, a staff member of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) contacted the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to gather information on who was administering and providing the Peer Assistance Program for Pharmacy. This staff member learned about the PRN program and contacted the Director of the program at the time. The TSBDE staff member encouraged PRN to bid for the contract to be the Peer Assistance Program provider for TSBDE. PRN submitted the bid to the Texas Building and Procurement Commission who is responsible for evaluating and awarding the Peer Assistance Contract. According to the Invitation to Bid, the emphasis of the program should be rehabilitative in nature rather than an adversarial or punitive emphasis. This emphasis matched the philosophy that PRN had been operating under for the past twenty-two years. Beginning September 1, 2003, PRN began offering recovery support services to all dental professionals in addition to the pharmacy professionals already being served. At this time, the program’s name was changed from Pharmacy Recovery Network (PRN) to Professional Recovery Network (PRN).
On September 1, 2010, the Professional Recovery Network was awarded contracts to begin monitoring Veterinary and Optometry Professionals as well.
PRN has been the model used in the establishment of many of the other state programs nationwide. Whatever success the program has obtained has been due to the close cooperation between Texas Pharmacy Association, Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP), Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE), the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME), and the Texas Optometry Board (TOB).
Director Courtney Bolin, LMSW, has been with PRN since 2008. She has managed thousands of cases and helped countless individuals suffering from substance abuse and mental illness, children suffering from abuse and neglect, and families experiencing the illness and hospitalization of a child. Courtney earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Texas State University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. Her extensive interactions have built strong relationships with many professionals and facilities dedicated to substance abuse and mental health challenges. She is an active member of the National Association of Social Workers and contributes many hours a week as a volunteer mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. Courtney is currently working toward her credentials as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
Emily Abel, LMSW, joined the PRN team in April 2011. She received her Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. Emily has dedicated many years to families and children in Texas, working to find a safe placement for children who have been subject to abuse/neglect, substance abuse, and conflict in their family systems. She also has experience in providing psychiatric services and working with individuals who have been hospitalized due to medical illness or injury. Emily is currently working toward her credentials as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
“Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.”
–H. Jackson Brown
Eden Folks, LBSW, joined the PRN team in February 2012. She graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work and is working towards her Master’s Degree in Social Work. Eden has a true passion for advocacy and contributed much of her time at Texas State to groups such as University Ally’s and Students Against Child Sex Trafficking. She has experience in leading support groups, teaching life skills and healthy interpersonal communication, and complex case management. Eden also volunteers in her free time with teen parents and the homeless population.
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.”
Mission & Vision
PRN works through confidentiality and trust to educate, prevent, intervene, refer, support, and monitor professionals and students who are experiencing problems that threaten both their well-being and the quality of their professional practice. PRN stresses the importance of approach and focuses on early identification, treatment, and advocacy for program participants.
PRN strives to provide assistance to professionals and students in a rehabilitative manner. PRN prides itself in the quality and non-stigmatizing nature of the services provided to the professional community. In addition to career reestablishment, participants often experience a rebirth of their professional, spiritual, and family life. This rebirth is PRNs ultimate goal. Early identification, appropriate treatment, and supportive but demanding recovery guidelines enhance the services of PRN as clients work toward a safe and effective return to practice. The safety and confidence of the citizens of Texas is essential to the vision.