Thursday, November 18, 2004
The DEA published its "Interim Policy Statement on Dispensing of Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Pain" in the Federal Register on Tuesday, November 16, 2004. The link is here (PDF).
The DEA published a document on its website in August 2004 entitled "Prescription Pain Medications: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Health Care Professionals and Law Enforcement Personnel." The DEA subsequently withdrew the document because it contained misstatements. This interim policy statement explains how some of the statements in the August 2004 document were erroneous. The DEA plans to address in a future Federal Register document the issue of dispensing controlled substances for the treatment of pain.
The three previous misstatements discussed in the interim policy statement involve the investigation of diversion behaviors, refills of Schedule II prescriptions, and reselling of controlled substances. The DEA recommends that this interim policy statement be distributed to hospitals' outpatient pain management centers, emergency rooms, and other units of hospitals where controlled substances are ordered for the treatment of pain. It also recommends that an announcement of the interim policy statement should also be made in the next communication to the medical staff from the pharmacy department and generally as physicians in a variety of specialties prescribe controlled substances for the treatment of pain. Thanks to Lew Lefko, of Haynes and Boone in Dallas, for bringing this notice to our attention.