Do You Need a DEA Registration Number?

Many veterinarians have a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number, but did you know you might not need one? AVMA has resources available to help you understand what the DEA’s rules say, including criteria you can use to help you determine whether you should be registered with the DEA.

For example, if you are an associate veterinarian and you are simply administering controlled substances or sending them home with a client, but you’re not writing a prescription for it, you might not actually need your own DEA registration. See an algorithm we’ve developed to help you navigate through the requirements. In addition to DEA’s requirements, however, also check your state rules to make sure you’re compliant on requirements for registration.

Also see our resources for more information on DEA’s security and recordkeeping rules. And, be sure to contact your representatives and ask them to support H.R. 1528, the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act!  See AVMA’s Legislative Action Center housed by our Governmental Relations Division, for additional details or sign up for the Congressional Advocacy Network to receive alerts.

3 thoughts on “Do You Need a DEA Registration Number?

  1. Thanks for this feedback. Sorry to hear about some lingering requests for DEA registration numbers, even when the prescription is for non-controlled substances. At the same time it is heartening to hear that many pharmacies are accepting the state license numbers. We’ll continue to underscore how important it is to AVMA and our members, to move away from DEA registration numbers and National Provider Identifier numbers, and to move toward use of non-confidential, veterinarian-specific identifiers (if needed) such as state veterinary license numbers. We appreciate hearing this feedback. Thanks again!

  2. I just wanted to comment that the human pharmacies are not very nice when one does not have a DEA number.
    Even when the prescription is not a controlled substance. I had one pharmacist turn down a prescription (for antibiotics) because I did not have a DEA number and some other kind of human-doctor related number which does not apply to veterinarians.
    Perhaps we could work on educating the pharmacy community as well.

    • Physicians have a “prescriber number.” The pharmacist basically needs to assign you a number for their system to track your prescriptions. They usually ask for my DEA, but I usually decline to provide it unless it is a controlled drug. Most pharmacies will accept my state license number – they just need something to ID me is what I’ve been told. Unfortunately I have worked with a number of support staff who have abused controlled substances and some even called in false prescriptions, so that’s why I try not to use mine. I agree that more education is needed, although you’d think they would cover that in pharmacy school?