Prescribing Controlled Substances Safely: A DEA Requirement


About the Course 
Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Physician Assistants (PAs), Pharmacists, and Dentists care for patients with disorders in many healthcare settings. Individuals may seek care for an acute illness or worsening of a chronic condition. Often, pain is the leading reason for seeking medical care. Appropriate prescribing practices are critical for all medications, but controlled substances require special attention. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) all have a role in controlled medication schedules. Prescribers must understand federal and state requirements for all controlled substances. This course will provide a general review of federal and state-controlled substance regulations and the prescribing practices for controlled substances. Additionally, substance use disorders are complex phenomena affecting many lives. This course also reviews common substance use disorders, including alcohol, anxiolytics, stimulants, hallucinogens, and tobacco/vaping. However, the focus is on clinical safety considerations when prescribing non-cancer-related opioid medications for acute/chronic pain in adults.  

Learning Outcomes

  • Differentiate among substance use disorders and associated concepts, including diversion.
  • Examine the roles of the DEA, FDA, and HHS in scheduling-controlled substances and enforcing controlled substance laws and regulations.  
    • Controlled substance act  
  • Differentiate the DEA Controlled Substance Schedules and prescribing regulations  
    • DEA Controlled Substance Schedules.  
    • Schedules of a controlled substance (I, II, III, IV, V)  
  • Examine medical marijuana legislation  
  • Describe essential considerations when prescribing controlled substances, including regulatory exceptions and clinical concerns.  
    • Nurse practitioners prescribing controlled substances: requirements
    • Integrative Therapies  
  • Controlled substance prescribing practices  
    • Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)  
    • Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS)  
    • Facsimile and oral prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances  
    • Schedules III-V controlled substance prescribing considerations  
    • FDA warning for codeine- and hydrocodone-containing cough and cold products  
    • Special considerations for nurse practitioners prescribing controlled substances? 

About the Author 
Humberto Reinoso, Ph.D., FNP-BC, ENP-BC, serves as Assistant Professor and Nurse Practitioner Coordinator at Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University. Dr. Reinoso’s clinical responsibilities have progressively evolved as his role in healthcare changed during the past 16 years of clinical practice. Initially, as a registered nurse (RN), he focused on providing the best care possible for patients at the bedside of a busy emergency department (ED) in a teaching hospital in south Florida. As an emergency nurse practitioner (NP), he focused on coordinating and improving patient care in the ED through prescribed interventions and advanced care. Having expanded his role and practice as a dual-certified advanced practice provider, he was granted a greater understanding of how nursing and medicine intertwine. As an experienced Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP), he oversees a full range of nursing care for emergency department patients.  

Dr. Reinoso received his Ph.D. from Barry University in Miami, Florida. He incorporates current guidelines and real-world scenarios as innovative pedagogical content delivery methods. His passion for nursing education has evolved as healthcare demands on the practitioner, patient, and community have become more complex. Preparing nurses to sharpen their skills and perform at the level of advanced practice providers has become his passion. His pedagogical approach focuses on bridging clinical practice with theoretical/didactic content. As an Assistant Professor and the Nurse Practitioner Coordinator at Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University, he can combine his passion for clinical practice and the education of future advanced practice professionals.  

Robyn B. Caldwell, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, PMHNP, earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Samford University in nursing administration with an emphasis on nursing education in 2013, A post-master’s certificate as a psychiatric nurse practitioner (PMHNP) from Wilkes University in 2022, a postmaster’s certificate as a family nurse practitioner from Delta State University in 2003, a master’s degree in nursing administration (MSN) in 1996, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in 1990 from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Caldwell has worked in various healthcare settings throughout her 32-year career, including adult and pediatric emergency nursing, nursing administration, and nursing education (LPN to DNP) in community college and university settings. She has published and presented on topics relevant to nursing education and patient outcomes at local, state, and national venues. Dr. Caldwell currently works in a rural urgent care setting.  

How to Receive Credit

  • Read the entire course online or in print.
  • Answer the final examination questions at the end of the course. A passing grade of 75% is required. Test questions link content to learning objectives as a method to enhance individualized learning and material retention.
  • Provide required personal information and payment information.
  • Complete the mandatory course evaluation.
  • Print your Certificate of Completion.

Resolution of Conflict of Interest 
Colibri Healthcare, LLC implemented mechanisms prior to the planning and implementation of the continuing education activity, to identify and resolve conflicts of interest for all individuals in a position to control content of the course activity. 

Sponsorship/Commercial Support and Non-Endorsement 
It is the policy of Colibri not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners. 

The information provided in this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition. 

©2022: All Rights Reserved. Materials may not be reproduced without the expressed written permission or consent of Colibri Healthcare, LLC. The materials presented in this course are meant to provide the consumer with general information on the topics covered. The information provided was prepared by professionals with practical knowledge of the areas covered. It is not meant to provide medical, legal, or professional advice. Colibri Healthcare, LLC recommends that you consult a medical, legal, or professional services expert licensed in your state. Colibri Healthcare, LLC has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that all content provided in this course is accurate and up to date at the time of printing but does not represent or warrant that it will apply to your situation nor circumstances and assumes no liability from reliance on these materials. Quotes are collected from customer feedback surveys. The models are intended to be representative and not actual customers.

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