DEA Announces Temporary Extension of COVID-19 Telehealth Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications


The Controlled Substances Act, as amended by the Ryan Haight Act, generally prohibits prescribing controlled substances via telehealth without a prior in-person examination, subject to certain very limited exceptions. Those exceptions include prescriptions issued during a public health emergency. Thus, since the January 31, 2020 declaration of a public health emergency due to the COVID-19 epidemic, eligible providers have been able to prescribe controlled substances, without a prior in-person visit with a patient, provided:

  • The prescription is issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a practitioner acting in the usual course of his/her professional practice;
  • The telemedicine communication is conducted using an audio-visual, real-time, two-way interactive communication system; and
  • The practitioner is acting in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws.

The public health emergency is scheduled to end on May 11, 2023.

Read the client alert here.