What are DEA Numbers? Purposes and Requirements 

The US Drug Enforcement Administration assigns the DEA number, commonly known as DEA registrations, to health care professionals. These professionals include dentists, veterinarians, physicians, optometrists, nurses, and more. 

complete details of DEA numbers

These health care workers must have a licensed DEA number to make themselves capable of administering and prescribing controlled substances. In cases where the professions dispense non-controlled substances, they are not required to have a DEA number. 

DEA numbers are usually printed on unique papers, including prescriptions that cannot be duplicated. When a patient wishes to acquire medicines from a pharmacist, they must present a prescription with the doctor’s signature and their DEA number. 

DEA registration is a federal law requirement. The rules and regulations on the licensure for practice for medical professionals vary from state to state under federal law. Therefore, healthcare professionals must acquire a different DEA number depending on the state they practice under.

Nurse practitioners and pharmacists are also required to obtain a DEA number and get themselves registered in case they administer, prescribe, or dispense controlled drug substances. 

What is Controlled Drug Substances?

Drugs that have been categorized from Schedule II to Schedule V, under the Controlled Substances Act in the United States of America require a DEA number for their administration and distribution. Some of these controlled substances include Valium, Morphine, Xanax, Codeine, and more. 

The drugs included in Schedule I of the act are considered illegal and cannot be prescribed for medicinal purposes. Therefore, the use of DEA registration for such medications is discouraged across the country. 

How to Access Someone’s DEA Number

Besides directly asking the practitioner to provide their DEA number, one can obtain the DEA number using the professional’s 10-digits National Provider Identifier. DEA lookup by NPI is a relatively quicker and more accessible alternative to accessing DEA numbers, primarily through various websites that can match the NPI with the DEA of the practitioner. 

How to Check the Validity of DEA Numbers?

DEA numbers are unique identifiers. A valid DEA number comprises 6 numbers, 2 letters, and 1 check digit. 

  • The first letter of the DEA number signifies the type of the registrant. Some of the codes used for different entities are as follows: 
  1. B- For hospitals and clinics.
  2. C- For various medical practitioners. 
  3. E- For manufacturers. 
  • The second letter of the DEA number is the first letter of the last name of the registrant. If a registrant uses a business address instead of their name, “9” is used as the second letter. 
  • 7 digits follow the first two letters. The first 6 digits complete the unique identifier of the entity registering for the DEA number. The 7th digit is known as the Checksum or Check Digit. 

With the growing demand for medical professionals and technicians, many people compose DEA numbers to use it for unethical purposes. Illegitimate prescription of medicines can endanger the life of patients. Therefore, it is essential to check the authenticity of DEA numbers and registrations. 

DEA numbers can be validated through both online and offline methods. With the assistance and advancement of modern technology, pharmacy technicians can quickly check the authenticity of the DEA numbers by cross-checking the structure with their existing data program. The offline method of checking the validity of a DEA number is an extensive procedure that can only be carried by certified and competent pharmacy technicians, once they are thorough with checking it offline. 


The allotment of DEA numbers allows the Drug Enforcement Administration to track and monitor the prescription and authorization of the Controlled Drug Substances. They keep track of the quantity being administered by the professionals, and various other essential regulations.