Obtaining a DEA Number

TPA-certified optometrists are required to have a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) registration number in order to prescribe certain controlled substances. Pennsylvania TPA-certified optometrists must have a DEA number to prescribe schedule III and IV agents.

Applications for registration (DEA form 224) may be obtained by calling (800) 882-9539 or visiting www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov.

The DEA will automatically mail paperwork to those optometrists who are approaching DEA license renewal. Optometrists do not need to request a renewal form. The DEA will mail your new DEA certificate to you approximately 2-4 weeks after receiving your completed form.

Completing a DEA application

  • Use a business address. The DEA will not process an application that appears to list a home address. Filling out a home address will delay your application. If your business address ever changes, you must send a letter to your regional DEA office.

  • Section 1 (Business Activity) - Optometrists must check Mid-level Practitioner and indicate “O.D.”

  • Section 3 (Drug Schedules) - Check Schedule III, IV and V.

  • Section 4 (All Applicants Must Answer): Yes - Enter State license # (example: OEG000000); Check “N/A” on the State Controlled Substances line. Check Schedule III and IV (Narcotic) boxes labeled “Prescribe,” “Administer,” “Dispense” and “Procure.”

  • Remember to enclose a check for the three-year filing fee. The DEA will not issue a number without this fee.

DEA Number Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to have a DEA number?
No. If an optometrist is not planning on prescribing controlled substances, a DEA number is not necessary. In fact, the DEA strongly opposes the use of a DEA registration number for any purpose other than the one for which it is intended - to provide certification of DEA registration in transactions involving controlled substances. The use of a DEA number as an identification number for purposes of pharmacy billing and insurance is not considered an appropriate use. Although the DEA has repeatedly made its position known to insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers, there is no legal basis to prevent these entities from requiring or requesting a practitioner’s DEA number.

Do I need two DEA numbers if I have two offices?
Yes. If an optometrist plans on procuring and storing controlled substances at multiple office locations, multiple DEA numbers will be required. Inventory and dispensing of controlled substances are tightly controlled by federal regulations; therefore, an optometrist cannot procure controlled substances and then “distribute” them to various offices. If you have questions about obtaining multiple DEA numbers for branch offices, please contact your local DEA office.

Can an optometric group get one DEA number for the whole office?
No. Each provider that plans on prescribing, administering or dispensing controlled substances should have their own DEA number. For ease of administration, however, only one provider in each practice should be responsible for procuring controlled substances and maintaining the appropriate administrative files.

As a reminder, we suggest that you do not pre-print your DEA number on your prescription pads, nor pre-sign them to avoid any potential exposure should your pad fall into someone else’s hands.

Prescription pads are available through POA by calling (717) 233-6455 or by e-mailing Joyce@poaeyes.org.

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