This is part one (1) of a five (5) part series titled the “5 biggest prescription errors that nurse practitioners can make”. Today’s blog discusses the individuals to whom a nurse practitioner cannot prescribe controlled substances. Since there has been a rise in prescription drug abuse in North Carolina in the last 10 years or so, these violations are taken very seriously. It is important for nurse practitioners to read and re-read the applicable administrative codes regarding prescribing controlled substances. This blog post does not discuss all the rules and regulations regarding nurse practitioner prescribing authority, just those referenced below.
Pursuant to 21 NCAC 32M .0109, nurse practitioners may prescribe controlled substances (as defined by State and Federal Controlled Substances Acts). However, nurse practitioners are prohibited from prescribing controlled substances to the following people: (1) To the licensed nurse practitioner himself or herself. (2) To anyone in the nurse practitioner’s immediate family (parent, spouse, sibling, child, etc.). (3) To the nurse practitioner’s supervising physician(s). (4) To any other person living in the same residence as the nurse practitioner. (5). To any person with whom the nurse practitioner is having a sexual relationship.
Failure by a nurse practitioner to adhere to 21 NCAC 32M .0109 can result in loss of the NPs DEA number, board discipline, and/or loss of the NP’s practice. Pressure by one of the above individuals to prescribe her or him a controlled substance is not worth a professional license and/or medical practice. Controlled substances are, and have been, a hot topic in North Carolina for years due to opioid-related deaths. State officials are actively combating the opioid epidemic in this state and will act swiftly if an authorized prescriber violates a law.