Q:

How do you find a doctor's DEA number?

A:

Quick Answer

While the Drug Enforcement Agency doesn't release physician registration information to the public, it's possible to check doctors' credentials by getting in touch with the state's medical board. According to the DEA, it is also possible to purchase an authorized copy of the database from the National Technical Information Service.

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Full Answer

While there is a wide array of services online that claim to have the ability to provide information regarding a DEA number, the only one authorized by the federal government is provided by the National Technical Information Service. A valid DEA number contains two letters, six numbers and one check digit.

All health care practitioners who write prescriptions for controlled substances must register with the DEA, explains the DEA Office of Diversion Control. The registrant then receives a nine-character alphanumeric code, which he must include with every prescription for a controlled substance that he writes. This code is known as the practitioner's DEA number. Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring that a valid DEA number is included with every prescription for a controlled substance that they fill.

To discourage prescription fraud, the Office of Diversion Control constructs DEA numbers in a specific way, notes the DEA. The first character is always a letter. DEA numbers issued before October 1, 1985 begin with the letter "A." Numbers issued after that date begin with the letters "B" or "F," with the exception of those issued to mid-level practitioners, which begin with the letter "M."

The second character in a DEA number is almost always the first letter of the provider's last name, notes the DEA. A computer-generated sequence of seven numbers completes the code.

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