DEA seeks comments on dispensing controlled drugs to LTC residents

July 20, 2010

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a notice in the Federal Register requesting input about the dispensing of controlled substances for residents in long-term-care (LTC) facilities.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a notice in the Federal Register requesting input about the dispensing of controlled substances for residents in long-term-care (LTC) facilities.

“DEA is exploring whether - while adhering to the framework of the Controlled Substances Act - any further revisions to the DEA regulations are feasible and warranted toward the goal of making it easier for residents of [LTC facilities] to receive controlled substance medications,” the notice stated.

DEA will seek comments from practitioners, pharmacists, LTC facilities, nurses, and residents and families of residents on how DEA regulations might be modified to make it easier for residents to gain access to controlled medications.

The agency is seeking comments on 56 specific questions, the notice stated.

According to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), DEA's request for comments will give stakeholders an opportunity to support changes to the Controlled Substances Act that would eliminate barriers to timely and appropriate treatment for residents in need of controlled medications.

Some of the questions in the notice reflect a need for more information, as well as a better understanding by DEA about fundamental aspects of LTC operation. Other questions attempt to solicit anecdotes or evaluations of the scope or frequency of problems caused by DEA regulations in LTC facilities.

ASCP has a decades-long history of advocacy efforts connected with the dispensing of controlled substances in LTC facilities and the impact of DEA rules on the ability of practitioners to provide timely and appropriate treatment for residents. Recently, ASCP, in collaboration with other stakeholders, established the Quality Care Coalition for Patients in Pain to address this issue more effectively.

The Federal Register notice is available online at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-15757.pdf.