How Can One Find a Doctor's DEA Number?

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration does not release doctors' DEA numbers to the general pubic, reports the DEA. The best way to find out if a doctor is registered with the DEA is to contact the state medical board. Health care practitioners who are registered with the DEA may validate their numbers by visiting the website of the DEA Office of Diversion Control.

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.