Got Drugs? Here is a Few Simple Rules to Remember

There are times that dentists need to write a legitimate prescription for controlled substances.  Some controlled substances may also need to be administered in the dental office.  If you are prescribing or administering these medications, you must follow DEA and applicable state laws.  Some of these laws are just common sense, but others may not be known to dentists or their employees. Unfortunately, ignorance is no excuse. Compliance with state and federal rules and laws is a must.

Here are a few regulations:

  1. Maintain proper registration (authority) to use, dispense, prescribe
  2. Only write prescriptions that are patient of record and then only for legitimate dental purposes
  3. Keep an accurate dispensation/ administration log to track every dose that is added or subtracted from your inventory
  4. Take a physical inventory (count) of your drugs at least every two years
  5. Keep medications locked up and allow only specific employees to have access
  6. Ensure any practitioners or employees who physically handle or dispense from your inventory have your written authorization to do so. Those persons are called designated agents. Designated agents are required to have your express, written authorization
  7. Ensure any employees who communicate your prescriptions with pharmacy employees are designated agents as described above

Some dentist will find themselves at the mercy of the DEA and state counterpart for unknown infractions, and others may knowingly violate the laws.  Again, ignorance is no excuse. Unfortunately, few (if any) dentists ever read the DEA Practitioner’s Manual, which is a guide to educate registrants on the rules they need to know.

States may set their own laws regarding controlled substances that are more stringent than the federal regulations.  Intentional or not violating drug laws could cost you more than just money; it can cost you your practice and your freedom.