DEA considers electronic order forms for controlled substances

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The Drug Enforcement Administration is proposing new regulations that would allow veterinarians and other DEA-registered individuals to order schedule I and schedule II controlled substances, as their registrations permit, using an electronic version of the DEA official order form.

The proposed regulations, described in the June 27 Federal Register, would allow individuals who are DEA-registered to order these substances electronically and maintain records of these transactions electronically. Currently, the DEA requires a written order from the purchaser on a DEA-issued form.

According to the DEA, many registrants place all their controlled substance orders electronically, and suppliers who receive electronic orders cannot fill the orders until they receive the DEA form by mail. This process can take days, whereas, electronic order forms could be processed immediately.

Additionally, two recent laws, the Government Paperwork Elimination Act of 1998 and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000, require federal agencies to allow electronic record keeping and reporting and to recognize electronic signatures.

The proposal would require an electronic signature system operated by the DEA. For more information on the proposed regulations, view the Federal Register online at

To comment on the proposal, submit a letter to the Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, D.C. 20537, Attn: DEA Federal Register Representative/CCR. Comments must be postmarked by Sept. 25.