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Description: Can Psychologists prescribe drugs? Mainly no, only in a few jurisdictions. Should Psychologists be given limited prescribing privileges? Now that is a rather hotly debated question. There ARE examples of situations where non-doctors have been granted limited prescription authority. Dentists, for example, can prescribe pain medications (good thing too!). So, what about psychologists? What about psychologists in areas where psychiatrists (who CAN prescribe) are very and very far between and what if the psychologists are the point of initial contact with suicidal people who might have to wait weeks to gain in to see a psychiatrist, if at all, to get meds? Sort out your own thoughts on this question and then read the article linked below to see some of the “in favor” argument. There rae some opposed arguments in the References/Further Reading section further down.

Source: Why States Should Allow Psychologists to Prescribe Medication, Alicia Plemmons, USNews and World Reports.

Date: September 22, 2021

Image by HeungSoon from Pixabay

Article Link:

Where do you stand now? Should psychologists have limited prescription authority? Certainly, the argument focusing on saving lives is a string one. Bu what about an argument suggesting a team approach is needed with psychologists and general practitioners working together (the GP’s can prescribe). What other arguments are there and are there ways of looking at this that do NOT see it a turf war between physicians and psychologists? There ARE jurisdictions where psychologists have limited prescription authority (with significant additional training) and it will be interesting to see where this issues goes from here.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sorts of situations might make the consideration of granting limited prescription authority to psychologists seem sensible?
  2. What are some arguments against this?
  3. What is your opinion on this matter and how do you back it up?

References (Read Further):

Bray, M. J. C., Daneshvari, N. O., Radhakrishnan, I., Cubbage, J., Eagle, M., Southall, P., & Nestadt, P. S. (2021). Racial differences in statewide suicide mortality trends in Maryland during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. JAMA psychiatry, 78(4), 444-447. Link

American Psychological Association. (1996). Model legislation for prescriptive authority. Washington, DC: Author. Link

Choudhury, A. R., & Plemmons, A. Deaths of Despair: Prescriptive Authority of Psychologists and Suicides. Link

Lavoie, K. L., & Fleet, R. P. (2002). Should psychologists be granted prescription privileges? A review of the prescription privilege debate for psychiatrists. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 47(5), 443-449. Link

Robiner, W. N., Tumlin, T. R., & Tompkins, T. L. (2013). Psychologists and medications in the era of interprofessional care: Collaboration is less problematic and costly than prescribing. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 20(4), 489. Link