On February 26, 2020, DEA issued a proposed rule titled Registration Requirements for Narcotic Treatment Programs with Mobile Components. The proposed rule would waive the requirement of a separate registration for opioid treatment programs (OTPs) that utilize a mobile component.

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) generally requires, with certain exceptions, all persons who dispense controlled substances to obtain a separate registration at each “principle place of business or professional practice” where they dispense a controlled substance. The CSA also, however, authorizes the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), by delegation of the Attorney General, to issue regulations that would waive the registration requirement in certain instances if he finds it consistent with the public health and safety.

If finalized, the proposed rule would waive the requirement of a separate registration for OTPs that provide medication for opioid use disorder out of mobile vehicles. It would allow registrants to dispense controlled medications from schedules II-V for the purpose of maintenance or detoxification services at a location remote from, but within the same state as, the OTP’s registered location. A registrant that intends to operate a mobile OTP must notify the local DEA office in writing and obtain explicit written approval from the local DEA office prior to operating the mobile OTP.

DEA stated that the proposed rule is consistent with the public health and safety because it will expand access to OUD treatment in rural and other underserved areas with minimal risk of diversion.