Role of DEA as it pertains to PMHNP

Role of DEA as it pertains to PMHNP

There is probably no greater responsibility that the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner assumes than the responsibility of prescribing medications. While someone can be harmed by psychotherapy, the level and intensity of the harm generally does not come to the same level of harm that can occur from improper prescribing. The PMHNP must understand his/her responsibility both at a state and federal level when it comes to prescribing medications. In this Practicum Journal Assignment, you will explore the legalities associated with prescribing controlled substances, as well as what a DEA number is, how to obtain one, and, most importantly, how to prescribe controlled substances in your state. Students will: Analyze roles of the Drug Enforcement Administration Analyze PMHNP responsibilities when issued a DEA number Analyze DEA number application procedures Analyze state requirements for safe prescribing and prescription monitoring Analyze PMHNP responsibilities for safe prescribing and prescription monitoring Analyze Schedule II-V drug levels To prepare for this Practicum Journal: Review the Learning Resources. QUESTIONS: In 2-3 pages: Describe the role of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as it pertains to the PMHNP. Explain your responsibilities when having a DEA number. Explain how you apply for a DEA number. Explain your state’s requirements for a safe prescribing and prescription monitoring program. Explain your responsibility as a PMHNP to follow these requirements. Provide an example of a drug you may prescribe from each of the Schedule II-V drug levels. Role of DEA as it pertains to PMHNP


DEA enforces federal laws that pertain to the unlawful manufacture, distribution, sale, and usage of drugs. As pertaining to psychiatric mental health nursing, DEA regulates substances that PMHNPs can prescribe. For a valid prescription of controlled substances, registered practitioners must have DEA registration (Gabay, 2014). According to Rutkow et al (2014), mental health nursing entails therapeutic intervention along with a prescription of psychotropic and other medications used in the treatment of mental illnesses.   DEA oversees nurse practitioners’ prescription of controlled substances. In order to issue prescription of controlled substances, a nurse practitioner is required to register with DEA and get a DEA number (Buppert, 2018).

According to Rutkow et al (2014), controlled substances are grouped into V schedules under federal law. Schedule 1 drugs such as heroin can’t be given for any purpose since they have a greater potential for misuse and no recognized medicinal value. Schedule II to schedule V drugs are dispensable under a prescription. Schedule II drugs have restricted medical usage and greater potential for abuse, while schedule II through V drugs have recognized medical usage and less likelihood of abuse or dependence (DEA, 2018). Role of DEA as it pertains to PMHNP

Responsibilities of a PMHP when having a DEA

A DEA number permits PMHNPs to legally prescribe drugs entailing controlled substances. Once issued with a DEA number, a PMHNP has the responsibility of prescribing some controlled substances according to state laws. Majority of states allow nurse practitioners to prescribe schedule II to V substances without or without a collaborative prescriptive agreement with a physician.

The nurse practitioner should utilize the DEA number on prescribing scheduled substances. DEA is a scheme of tracking PMHNPs prescribing practices connected with controlled substances. In addition, the DEA number is a scheme of lessening unauthorized prescriptions. This implies that individual doesn’t have the authority to prescribe but wants to issue a prescription for controlled substances possesses a prescription pad and an authorized prescriber’s name won’t be able to attain filling of the prescription if it doesn’t contain a DEA number (Buppert, 2018).

New Jersey State’s requirement for a safe prescribing and prescription monitoring

            In New Jersey, nurse practitioners, including PMHNPs can prescribe schedule II to V drugs but can only issue a prescription if they have a written collaborative pact with a medical doctor (American Medical Association, 2017). Therefore, it is the responsibility of a PMHNP to enter into a prescriptive agreement with a physician so as to be able to prescribe schedule II to V substances

Procedures for applying for a DEA number

In order to apply for a DEA number, a PMHNP must comply with local and state laws. According to Buppert, 2018), if a state necessitates an independent license for controlled substances, a nurse practitioner must get this licensure and submit a copy of the license with the application form for the DEA number. If a law of the state doesn’t permit nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled drugs, the DEA numbers won’t be issued by the DEA.  DEA registration requires the applicant to pay 390 dollars for issuance of a DEA number whose validity is three terms. In addition, states might charge registration fees.  Upon issuance of a DEA number, an application for renewal is automatically issued forty-five days before expiry date (Buppert, 2018).

An example of a drug a PMHNP may prescribe from each of the schedule II to V drug levels

New Jersey state laws allow nurse practitioners, including PMHNPs to prescribe schedule II –V controlled substances. Examples of drugs that I may prescribe as a PMHNP include Methadone (schedule II), Ketamine (Schedule III), Valium (Schedule IV) and Codeine (Schedule V). Role of DEA as it pertains to PMHNP


American Medical Association. (2017). State Law Chart: Nurse Practitioner Prescriptive Authority. Available at

DEA. (2018). Drug Scheduling. Available at

Gabay, M. (2014). The Federal Controlled Substance Act: Controlled Substances Prescriptions. Hospital Pharmacy, 48(4): 644-645.

Buppert, C. (2017).  Nurse Practitioner’s Business Practice and Legal Guide.  Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Rutkow, L, Vernick, J., & Wissow, L et al (2014). Prescribing Authority During Emergencies Challenges for Mental Health Care Providers. Journal of Legal Medicine, 32(3): 249-260.

Role of DEA as it pertains to PMHNP

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