DEA Oversight and Audits of Buprenorphine Treatment Programs
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and state DEA oversee office-based buprenorphine treatment and have the right to inspect physicians' buprenorphine practices at any time. Audits are random and usually unscheduled; a minority of buprenorphine practices are visited by the DEA annually. Physicians who comply with federal recordkeeping and treatment guidelines have no need for concern.
According to a 2006 presentation by Denise Curry, Deputy Director from the DEA's Office of Diversion Control, most inspections are uneventful and the majority of practices are found to be in compliance with federal guidelines. When problems are cited, they generally involve administrative issues and require physicians to make changes to their recordkeeping practices. However, if more serious violations are found then the DEA can revoke a physician's right to prescribe buprenorphine and take further legal action when necessary.
In case of a DEA audit, you may be asked to present the following information:
- documentation of your waiver to prescribe buprenorphine
- treatment logs, including information on how many patients are currently in treatment
- documentation of prescriptions given
- dispensing practices, for physicians who are dispensing buprenorphine tablets from their offices
There are some exceptions to the disclosure laws, such as in case of medical emergencies or legal situations.