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Who May Prescribe

The Indian Health Service requires that prescribing practitioners have Drug Enforcement Administration licenses, unless they are prescribing under the auspices of institutions that have DEA licenses or they are members of the Public Health Service. However, even if you’re a prescribing practitioner working under an "umbrella" DEA license, it's recommended that you get your own DEA license.

Revised Policy Regarding the Federal Government Doctor [PDF - 265 KB], FEDDOC Program, DEA Memorandum

Clarification regarding locum tenens registration [PDF - 37 KB], DEA letter

The Indian Health Manual has specific requirements for prescribing controlled substances in Section 3-7.3D(2) of the Manual.

The DEA's Practitioner's Manual states that a prescription for a controlled substance may only be issued by a practitioner who is:

  1. Authorized to prescribe controlled substances by the jurisdiction in which the practitioner is licensed to practice,
  2. Registered with DEA or exempted from registration (that is, Public Health Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons, or military practitioners), or
  3. An agent or employee of a hospital or other institution acting in the normal course of business or employment under the registration of the hospital or other institution that is registered in lieu of the individual practitioner being registered (provided that additional requirements as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations are met).


For more information, visit the Legal Considerations for Prescribers references section.