Safe Prescribing

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) started operations in 1915 to combat drug smuggling and use within the United States. It is not the only agency for domestic enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act but shares the mandate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It is paramount for a Nurse Practitioner to understand the differences in state laws and the process of completing applications for prescriptive authority and DEA registration when working as a prescriber. Over the last years, safe subscription of some drugs like opioids has been a national concern (U.S. Department of Justice, n.d.). The essay focuses on the process of obtaining prescriptive authority after successfully completing the program of study and passing the National Certification Exam.

The selected case study regards Lori, FNP-BC, who is a new graduate and recently passed her certification exam. She was hired to work for a primary care Clinic and would work with one physician at one site. Prescriptive authority is the ability of advanced practice registered nurse to prescribe drugs, devices, medical services, and other medical goods. From the information presented, Lori requires using the information provided by the Maryland Board of Nursing as the appropriate prescriptive authority. The authority to prescribe legend drugs is granted by certification to practice as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner. The authority to prescribe the controlled substances is granted by the Maryland Division of Drug Control.

The DEA registration process requires a complete all the issues imposed by the state of practice and obtaining a license. The failure of Lori to obtain Maryland’s state license makes it difficult to register with DEA. The practitioner ought to fill a list of drug schedules of controlled substances that she wishes to handle. A complete application must be mailed with the appropriate fee and the original signature. The credentialing of a physician may be accomplished by making a request for a copy of the physician’s current DEA registration certificate indicating the issue and the expiration dates. The process satisfies the requirements for verification of a DEA registration.

A separate registration is required for another place of professional practice where controlled substances are used. However, for the selected case, the practitioner subscribes for the same location within the same state thus, requires no additional registration.

The safe prescribing practices used by providers helps to provide them with a greater understanding of their responsibilities and the standards applied by the Board in reviewing the prescribing practices. The access to prescription data is available for free to care providers, and it provides the ability to manage the risks of controlled substance medications (Buppert, 2015).

A prescription ought to be issued for a legitimate purpose and by a practitioner in their usual course of professional practice. The physicians require understanding their roles and responsibilities in preventing medication errors. The Board of Nursing prohibits the prescription to immediate family members except in an emergency. The prescription to self is also prohibited for the controlled substances in schedules II through IV for own use. A valid prescription must be within a physician-patient relationship and for the purpose of maintaining the patient well-being. Also important is to conform to the standards of care as required (Buppert, 2015). Before prescribing, the care provider ought to be registered and licensed for the type of care administered.

As described, it is essential for a nurse practitioner to understand the requirements by the prescriptive authority and also obtain the necessary certifications and licensure. Safe prescribing involves several practices to ensure that patient safety is adhered to by all means.



Buppert, C. (2015). Prescribing:  In Nurse practitioner’s business practice and legal guide (5th     ed.). (199-204). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

U.S. Department of Justice (n.d.). Drug Enforcement Administration: Office of Diversion             Control. Retrieved from

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