Nurse practitioner prescriptive authorityNurse Practitioners, being highly educated and experienced in the field of nursing, are given prescriptive authority to varying degrees across the United States. The extent of a nurse practitioners prescriptive authority largely varies by the schedule of the drug in question, with some states allowing a larger degree of prescriptive authority to nurse practitioners and some regulating this prescriptive authority more closely.

The following is a state-by-state breakdown of nurse practitioner prescriptive authority according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP):

Legend Drugs

A legend drug is a drug that requires a prescription from a licensed and approved medical practitioner because it is 1) habit forming; 2) Toxic or having the potential for harm; and 3) Limited to use under a practitioner’s supervision specifically for the drugs named application.

States that allow nurse practitioner prescriptive authority for legend drugs ONLY are:

Every other state is recognized by the DEA with the authority to prescribe controlled substances, with some states having specific restrictions.

Schedule II-IV

A full list of drugs and their associated schedules can be found on the DEA’s website. Generally speaking, the lower the schedule, the more potential a drug has to be dangerous, misused, and therefore, requires a higher level of regulation. States in this category only allow nurse practitioner prescriptive authority for drugs falling into the category of schedule II, III, or IV.

Schedule III-IV

States in this category only allow nurse practitioner prescriptive authority for schedule III and IV controlled substances.

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