April 2017

NPs can now prescribe controlled substances

On April 19, 2017, the Ontario government passed regulations that enable NPs to prescribe controlled substances if they have completed approved controlled substances education. 

To ensure the public and other health professionals know who can legally prescribe controlled substances, NPs who have not completed the approved education will have the following restriction posted to their profile on the College’s public register, Find a Nurse: “Entitled to practice with restrictions.” A description of the restriction will be included: “This member cannot prescribe controlled substances. They have not completed the education needed to do so.” 

Prescribing controlled substances is a high-risk activity. Posting a restriction to the profile of an NP who has not completed the required education is a public protection mechanism. Meeting the education requirement gives NPs the competencies needed to support safe and ethical prescribing, and manage clients who are treated with controlled substances. Depending on practice setting and client population, an NP may have additional learning needs. As part of continuing competence requirements for 2017, NPs are required to identify a learning goal related to controlled substances, relevant to their role and setting. Visit the Quality Assurance page to learn more.

Practice resources
A new Nurse Practitioner practice standard is now in effect. When prescribing controlled substances, NPs are required to apply the expectations for public protection set out in the new practice standard.

The following practice documents have also been updated to reflect NPs’ expanded scope of practice:

You will find more information, questions and answers, as well as other resources to support clinical decision, on the NPs and Prescribing Controlled Substances page and in the NP section.

Read the revised Ontario Regulation 275/94 (General) under the Nursing Act, 1991.


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