If ever the question is asked about whether you should surrender your DEA registration, always remember that the answer is emphatically no. This is the only answer. What usually happens is a DEA agent shows up at your practice and starts to ask questions about how you prescribe medication. While some might think it’s a routine inspection, there’s a good chance that it’s anything but routine. Generally speaking, by the time a DEA agent arrives at your practice, there has already been an investigation in the works for a good period of time.
At some point during the discussion with the DEA agent, you’ll probably start to worry about what’s going to happen next. Most practitioners respond to the questions asked by the agent because they feel duty bound to comply. The fear and worry that’s inherent when communicating with a DEA agent is why many just do whatever is asked of them.
During the interview, the conversation will likely turn towards voluntarily surrendering your DEA registration. This will include information about why it’s in your best interest to do so. The agent will encourage you to voluntarily surrender your DEA registration because it will be revoked anyway. What usually follows is a form for you to sign. It’s a voluntary surrender form awaiting your signature. If you haven’t already picked up the phone to call your lawyer, you should definitely do so before signing anything, especially a voluntary surrender form.
The DEA agent might also tell you that you’ll be able to reapply for a DEA registration when everything has been resolved. Unfortunately, once you voluntarily surrender your registration under such circumstances, you probably won’t get it back or obtain another one. It’s common for practitioners to sign the form out of fear, which arises because the agent has spoken about the amount of trouble they’re in. The practitioner’s goal is usually to mitigate the problem by doing whatever is asked of them.
If you sign the form, an inspection and raid will be the last of your worries because you will have just ended your career. It’s a decision that can have a devastating affect on your entire life. Some practitioners have said it’s the worse decision they could have ever made. What has just happened is a practitioner has received legal advice from a DEA agent that does not have their best interest in mind. To some degree, the decision was made under duress. Even if that’s the case, the form is still binding.
The problems that can arise as a result of a DEA registration surrender is why it’s important to consult with legal counsel. In fact, you should request that your attorney show up at your practice immediately. If ever there was an emergency situation when you needed an attorney, this is it.
Beyond the fact that you probably will not be able to apply for a DEA registration again, there are other reasons why you should not surrender it. One significant reason is that surrendering your DEA registration might end up triggering other actions against you, such as actions that would affect your state pharmacy or medical license. It could impact any other professional license that you’ve earned.
The reality is that the Attorney General will need to prove a few things before they are able to either revoke or suspend your DEA registration. For example, they will have to prove that you committed an act that was not in the best interest of the public. The very best thing you can do when a DEA agent arrives at your front door is contact an attorney right away.