A DEA number (DEA Registration Number) is a number assigned to a health care provider (such as a medical practitioner, optometrist, pharmacist, dentist, or veterinarian) by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration allowing them to write prescriptions for controlled substances. Legally, the DEA number is solely to be used for tracking controlled substances. It is often used by the industry, however, as a general "prescriber number" that is a unique identifier for anyone who can prescribe medication.
A valid DEA number consists of:
- 2 letters, 6 numbers, & 1 check digit
- The first letter is a code identifying the type of registrant (see below)
- The second letter is the first letter of the registrant's last name
(For registrants using a business address instead of name a "9" is also allowed in this field- see below)
- Of the seven digits that follow, the seventh digit is a "checksum" that is calculated as:
- Add together the first, third and fifth digits call this CALC1,3,5
- Add together the second, fourth and sixth digits and multiply the sum by 2, call this CALC2,4,6
- Add CALC1,3,5 + CALC2,4,6 call this CHECK
- The rightmost digit of CHECK (the digit in the ones place) is used as the check digit in the DEA number
Registrant type (first letter of DEA Number):
- A – Deprecated (used by some older entities)
- B – Hospital/Clinic
- C – Practitioner
- D – Teaching Institution
- E – Manufacturer
- F – Distributor
- G – Researcher
- H – Analytical Lab
- J – Importer
- K – Exporter
- L – Reverse Distributor
- M – Mid Level Practitioner
- P – Narcotic Treatment Program
- R – Narcotic Treatment Program
- S – Narcotic Treatment Program
- T – Narcotic Treatment Program
- U – Narcotic Treatment Program
- X – Suboxone/Subutex Prescribing Program
For registrants using a business address instead of name example 123 Main Street Clinic , the DEA# would look like F91234567
Prior to October 1, 1985, DEA registration numbers for physicians, dentists, veterinarians, and other practitioners started with the letter A. New registration numbers issued to practitioners after that date begin with the letter B, F, or G.
Per US DOJ: "Due to the large Type A (Practitioner) registrant population, the initial alpha letter "B" has been exhausted. DEA will begin using the new alpha letter "F" as the initial character for all new registration for Type A (Practitioner) registrations."
- DEA Scheduled Drugs Reference Site
- DEA information on "Construction of Valid DEA Registration Numbers for Practitioners"
- "Updated DEA Registrant Codes"