Safe Prescribing

19 May No Comments

Safe Prescribing



Safe Prescribing

A medical practitioner is only needed to prescribe drugs only when he or she has sufficient knowledge regarding the health of the patient besides being satisfied that the drug serves the need of the patient (Sørensen et al., 2013). PMHNP’s require being cognizant of their states as well as federal level responsibilities for safe prescribing. This report explores the legalities linked with prescribing controlled drugs besides explaining the DEA number, how it can be accessed, and how to prescribe controlled drugs in the state of Washington.

Responsibility of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

DEA has the duty of deterring the dissemination of prohibited narcotics in the U.S. The body enforces all federal rules regarding the illicit sale, dissemination, use, or manufacturing of drugs (Oberweis & Petrocelli, 2016). Pertaining PMHNP, the DEA has the responsibility of controlling the prescription of controlled drugs by ensuring that only those with a DEA number are permitted to prescribe such medicines (Oberweis & Petrocelli, 2016).

Responsibilities when having a DEA Number

A DEA number is a number allotted to a healthcare practitioner by the DEA permitting them to prescribe controlled substances (Oberweis & Petrocelli, 2016). As a PMHNP, my duty when having this number is to ensure safe prescription for patient safety by ascertaining that I prescribe medications, which are within my practice range.

DEA Number Application Process

The DEA number can be applied online by visiting DEA’s website ( (Oberweis & Petrocelli, 2016). Apparently, one is required to make a note of the registration identification number when applying online (Oberweis & Petrocelli, 2016). After three days, one can call 800.882.9539 to revise the online application or to establish if the application has been accepted and issued (Oberweis & Petrocelli, 2016). However, before applying, one must be having an active practice license for Washington or must be having a pending permit (Oberweis & Petrocelli, 2016). Moreover, since the state of Washington requires a controlled substance permit, one must be having it before seeking a federal DEA number (Oberweis & Petrocelli, 2016).

Requirements for a Safe Prescribing and Prescription Monitoring Program in Washington

For safe prescription of controlled substances, the state of Washington requires medical practitioners not to prescribe medications for themselves and that the specified drugs must be for the reasons of treatment (Deyo et al., 2014). Furthermore, besides requiring a compelling health practitioner-patient association, the state of Washington requires that the prescribed drugs be within the practice scope of the prescriber (Deyo et al., 2014).

Furthermore, Washington’s prescription monitoring program was developed with the reasons of enhancing patient care besides stopping prescription medication abuse by assembling dispensing accounts for drugs in schedule II to V (Deyo et al., 2014). Notably, this data is availed to healthcare practitioners as well as pharmacists as a patient care tool (Deyo et al., 2014).

As such, as a PMHNP, my responsibility is to ensure that I do not prescribe drugs to myself, have a valid PMHNP-patient association, prescribe medications within my practice range, and ensure that I have the prescription monitoring program’s data before writing any prescriptions. This would ensure that I avoid misuse as well as overdose and therefore, providing a safe order for patient safety (Deyo et al., 2014).

Sample of Drugs I can Prescribe

Every medical practitioner has a range of controlled drugs, which he or she can prescribe. Controlled drugs are placed in their respective schedules grounded on if they have a presently acknowledged medical usefulness in therapy in the U.S (Hackett, 2016). As a PMHNP with a DEA registration number, I am allowed to prescribe various drugs within schedule II to V. Example of such substances in each category are illustrated below.

Schedule II

Drugs in this category have a high likelihood of misuse that may cause severe physical along with psychological reliance (Hackett, 2016). An example of a substance I am allowed to prescribe in this catalog is Ritalin (Hackett, 2016).

Schedule III

Medications in this group have an abuse likelihood less than that of medicines in schedule II, and misuse may cause low or restrained physical reliance or lofty psychological reliance (Hackett, 2016). An example of a substance I am allowed to prescribe in this catalog is Glutethimide (Hackett, 2016).

Schedule IV

This schedule comprises of substances, which have a negligible likelihood of misuse as compared to those in schedule III (Hackett, 2016). An example of a substance I am allowed to prescribe in this catalog is Benzphetamine (Hackett, 2016).

Schedule V

This category contains medications with a negligible possibility for misuse as compared to those in schedule IV and comprises mostly of preparations with moderate amounts of particular narcotics (Hackett, 2016). An example of a substance I am allowed to prescribe in this catalog is Motofen (Hackett, 2016).


Safe prescribing should be the endeavor of every medical practitioner. Nonetheless, medication errors are prevalent in healthcare, and they result in various adverse occurrences. Medical practitioners have used the authority to prescribe controlled substances but the DEA has been put in place to deter such misuse. As such, PMNHP’s are required to have authorization through acquiring a DEA registration number from the agency for safe prescription controlled substances. The number can be applied online using DEA’s website. What is more, the state of Washington has various requirements for safe prescribing that must be adhered to before prescribing. With the number, a PMHNP is allowed to specify a range of controlled substances to needing patients.


Deyo, R. A., Irvine, J. M., Hallvik, S. E., Hildebran, C., Beran, T., Millet, L. M., & Marino, M. (2014). Leading a horse to water: facilitating registration and use of a prescription drug monitoring program. The Clinical journal of pain.

Hackett, J. (2016). 16 Scheduling of Drugs in the United States. Forensic Toxicology: Drug Use and Misuse, 343.

Oberweis, T., & Petrocelli, M. (2016). Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The Encyclopedia of Crime & Punishment.

Sørensen, A. L., Lisby, M., Nielsen, L. P., Poulsen, B. K., & Mainz, J. (2013). The medication process in a psychiatric hospital: are errors a potential threat to patient safety?. Risk management and healthcare policy6, 23.

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