What Are DEA Numbers? What Are They Used For?

Written by Researchbite | Updated on: February 17, 2023

What Are DEA Numbers? What Are They Used For?

Here is an article on DEA Numbers.


The DEA Registration Number, often known as the DEA Number, is a strong, strictly regulated provider identity for many healthcare institutions and pharmacies. It can represent a sizable risk if it needs to be carefully reviewed and controlled. Although there still needs to be understood about what this number is, when to use it, and how to seek it up, despite how prevalent (and essential) it is for employers and providers. To combat drug addiction, trafficking, smuggling, production, and distribution, the US federal government's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) exclusively deals with drug laws and enforcement.

The administration and handling of restricted drugs, like pharmaceuticals, that are often handled in medical facilities and services, as well as the personnel who handle and administer these substances, are also subject to DEA authority. Any healthcare professional who fills such a position (a doctor, an optometrist, a pharmacist, a dentist, or a veterinarian, for instance) must register with the DEA and is given a specific registration number. This number grants authorization to manage, investigate, produce, or distribute such regulated drugs. The DEA registry includes a list of authorized makers, distributors, importers, and exporters of such drugs and healthcare providers. The federal government mandates both this registration and adherence to specific restrictions.

What is the DEA Number?

A DEA number is a particular identification code that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issues to medical professionals qualified to offer prohibited drug advice. The DEA registration number enables healthcare professionals to prescribe banned substances. It also enables the DEA to watch healthcare professionals' prescribing behavior and monitor possible fraud and misuse. Healthcare providers must register with the DEA and complete an application to receive a DEA number. Providers will receive a DEA number after approval, which they may use to prescribe restricted medications.

Many different medical professionals, such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, are given DEA numbers by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA number enables doctors to issue prohibited drug prescriptions. It also gives the DEA a tool to track doctor prescriptions and keep an eye out for fraud and misuse. In a continuous attempt to strictly regulate and oversee the prescription of restricted substances, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) maintains the Controlled Substance Act Database.

The Foundation of the DEA

As a part of the War on Drugs initiative of President Nixon, the DEA was established in 1973. The DEA took over the investigation and prosecution of drug-related offenses formerly handled by other law enforcement and intelligence organizations. The DEA was established to coordinate their efforts and provide a single primary source for investigation and prosecution. The DEA's main responsibility is to uphold American laws and regulations governing banned drugs. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which Congress approved in 2001, split all currently controlled pharmaceuticals into five groups known as schedules. The CSA also developed the registration process for practitioners still in use today and offered foundations for new medications to be added to the schedules.

The Objective Of The DEA Number

Under the CSA, the DEA number must be mentioned on prescriptions or orders for any CDS. This is done to hand over responsibility for ordering these pharmaceuticals to the practitioner while limiting orders to just certified practitioners (and therefore also their employer).

The three main effects of the DEA Number are as follows:

  1. Tracking - DEA registration numbers assist in monitoring the locations and individuals prescribing and dispensing restricted hazardous drugs.
  2. Accountability - The DEA can promote accountability among prescribers and the healthcare institution by tracking CDS prescriptions.
  3. Control - The Drug Enforcement Agency seeks to maintain more substantial control over the usage of controlled drugs via increased responsibility of both suppliers and institutions.

Requirement Of a DEA Number

Any practitioner who prescribes, dispenses, or administers CDS is required by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to have a current DEA number. A DEA Number is not required if the doctor writes prescriptions for non-controlled substances. If and when practicing within that particular organization, a doctor may be able to use the hospital's DEA number. A practitioner cannot provide patients restricted medications without a DEA number, although not all prescriptions are for such things. As previously said, DEA numbers are exclusive to each provider. They are only issued to those who have completed the required certification and testing as required by state and federal law. A physician who does not prescribe restricted medications can practice without a DEA registration, although it is challenging. Pharmacies and insurance providers commonly use a DEA number to identify providers. The DEA number is one of many ways to identify a supplier.

To prescribe legally restricted drugs in the United States, a person must register with the DEA. The DEA then provides them a number to include on their restricted narcotic prescriptions. A DEA number is primarily used to enable the DEA to monitor transactions involving restricted substances. Therefore, DEA numbers are given to anybody or any company in the supply chain in addition to medical professionals who may prescribe medication (such as a doctor or nurse practitioner).

When Are DEA Numbers Required?

Any substances listed in Schedule II-V of the Controlled Substances Act must have DEA numbers. Schedule I substances (such as heroin and marijuana) are prohibited by federal law and have no recognized medicinal use. The DEA updates the list of restricted drugs and their yearly scheduled classifications. Controlled prescription medications include, for instance:

  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Codeine- and pregabalin-containing cough medications (Lyrica)

Drugs not on the list are not needed to have DEA numbers, and the DEA discourages their needless usage since it jeopardizes the registration process.

Who Determines The Standards For The DEA Number?

While the DEA number is required by Federal Law (CSA) for controlled drugs, it's crucial to remember that State laws generally regulate the licensing and regulation of these medical practitioners, with certain States needing extra Controlled Substance Registration to prescribe.

The Importance of DEA Numbers

The ability to prescribe prohibited medications, including opiates, morphine, and steroids, is granted by DEA numbers. The DEA can track who is prescribing restricted medications and in what amounts, thanks to DEA numbers.DEA numbers have a set structure that identifies the prescriber and confirms the number's validity: two letters, six numbers, and one check digit. Here is the equation: A code identifying the kind of registrant is contained in the first letter. Hospitals, doctors, researchers, manufacturers, and other healthcare providers are included.

The seventh digit is the last in a formula that is as follows:

  1. Add digits 1, 3, 5
  2. Add digits 2, 4, and 6, then multiply by 2
  3. Add the numbers Starting from steps 1 and 2
  4. The last digit in this calculation is the check digit number.

To safeguard against opioid addiction, clinicians who prescribe and distribute restricted medications should know how a DEA number is made, even if a machine checks it automatically when a prescription is sent to a pharmacy. The DEA and CSA databases are the primary resources used to accredit practitioners. In addition, HMOs, clinics, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and businesses providing medical services need DEA numbers to confirm that a doctor is authorized to handle prohibited medications.

The Advantages Of Obtaining A DEA Number

The ability to prescribe prohibited medications to patients, crucial for pain management and other medical treatment programs, can only be obtained with a DEA number. In rare circumstances, it is also necessary to have a DEA number to submit claims to insurance companies for services done. The ability to give patients the care they require is the key advantage of obtaining a DEA number. Many doctors wouldn't be able to adequately manage pain or give their patients the drugs they require without a DEA number.

The ability to bill insurance companies may be another advantage of obtaining a DEA number. Many insurance companies will only compensate practitioners for services given if they have a DEA number. This might be a considerable financial burden for professionals without a DEA number. The main advantages of obtaining a DEA number are the ability to offer patients the appropriate care and submit claims to insurance companies. This may severely impact the standard of treatment that patients receive.

Disadvantages Of Having A DEA Number

Having a DEA number might have certain disadvantages. To begin with, it's crucial to remember that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) keeps track of every restricted substance transaction made by professionals with a DEA number. This implies that the DEA has a record of each patient who received a prescription for restricted narcotics from a physician, together with the quantity and kind of drugs prescribed. The DEA may examine these data even if the information is private if they have cause to suspect that a doctor is prescribing restricted medications improperly. Because they are worried about the privacy of their medical information, some patients might be hesitant to consult a doctor with a DEA number.


Data is vital, but if your company needs to learn how to aggregate or validate the data, you risk being exposed. To stop controlled drug fraud and misuse that might put patients at risk, it is crucial to conduct initial checks on new hires and constantly evaluate present providers' performance. To provide a comprehensive and longitudinal view of a provider or entity, this historical and real-time aggregated database compares records to existing provider data, including aliases, addresses, work history, license history and status, data from organizations like NPI, DEA, OFAC, and thousands of other primary sources nationwide.


  • https://streamlineverify.com/dea-screening/



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