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If you’re a healthcare provider who has received notice of a DEA suspension or revocation, you need to take action immediately. You have the right to defend yourself against these charges, and you need to make sure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
What Is a DEA Suspension?
A DEA suspension is a formal legal action taken by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration against an individual or business that is involved in the prescription drug supply chain — which includes doctors, pharmacists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, and other businesses that handle controlled substances like opioids and other prescription drugs on a regular basis. A suspension can be imposed for any number of reasons — but usually because the DEA believes there is reason to believe that an individual or business has violated federal law by:
Failing to comply with regulations regarding controlled substances; Falsifying records related to controlled substances; Engaging in illegal activities related to controlled substances; or Engaging in activities that pose an “imminent danger” to public health or safety related to controlled substances (such as prescribing drugs without examining patients).
Do not voluntarily surrender your DEA license
The voluntary surrender process is one of the first steps in the DEA’s administrative enforcement process. If you receive a letter from the DEA asking you to voluntarily surrender your registration, it means that the agency has already started an investigation against you. The letter will state that your registration is being considered for suspension or revocation, and that you have the right to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
If you sign away your registration through voluntary surrender, it means that you’re giving up your right to a hearing before an ALJ. You’ll be permanently barred from having a DEA registration, and this will end your career as a healthcare provider. You won’t be able to practice medicine in any state in the country — even if you aren’t actually convicted of any crime.
In many cases, voluntary surrender may not even be necessary — because it may be possible for your attorney to negotiate with the DEA and get them to drop their case against you entirely. In other cases, it may be possible for your attorney to negotiate with the DEA and get them to agree not to suspend or revoke your registration if you agree to certain conditions — such as completing a course on controlled substances prescribing practices or agreeing not to prescribe controlled substances for certain periods of time.
What Should You Do If You Receive A Letter From The DEA Asking You To Voluntarily Surrender Your Registration?
If you receive a letter from the DEA asking you to voluntarily surrender your registration, don’t sign it! Instead, contact us immediately so we can help protect your rights and defend your career.
If you request a hearing, the DEA will set a date for the hearing. The hearing will be conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who is employed by the Department of Justice’s Office of Administrative Law Judges. The ALJ will preside over the hearing and make a recommendation to the DEA Administrator as to whether your registration should be revoked or suspended, or whether any other action should be taken. The ALJ’s recommendation is not binding on the DEA Administrator, but in most cases, the Administrator will follow it.
At the hearing, you will have an opportunity to present evidence and testimony as to why your registration should not be revoked or suspended. You may also cross-examine witnesses who testify against you. You may have an attorney represent you at the hearing, at your own expense.
After the hearing, if your registration is revoked or suspended, you may appeal that decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which your registered location is located.