Can a Naturopathic Physician Prescribe Xanax in Washington State?

Naturopathic physicians are licensed by individual states, and abide by their state prescriptive laws. In Washington state, Naturopathic physicians have relatively similar prescribing rights as MDs and ARNPs, except for some important distinctions.

In Washington, Naturopathic physicians can use many of the same medications as MDs excluding the DEA Schedule of Controlled Substances I - V. The DEA list is based on how likely a substance is to be abused and it's potential for harm, from Heroin to Robitussin AC. Within that list, only some types of codeine, marijuana and testosterone are allowed for those who are specifically licensed with the DEA. So while we can prescribe medical marijuana, Naturopathic physicians can not, and do not prescribe Xanax.

Naturopathic physicians try to use the least invasive, and most natural treatments possible. Our first line of treatments is always based in diet, lifestyle changes, herbal medicine or nutritional supplements. As primary care physicians on a small island, we find ourselves using more synthetic medications than other Naturopathic physicians might, such as antibiotics or asthma medication, but only when absolutely necessary.  

Naturopathic physicians do not prescribe medications that have a high potential for abuse, and believe strongly in the power of nature to heal. We know that when the body has everything it needs and obstacles to cure are removed, it can heal itself, and so we try to replace deficiencies rather than mask symptoms.

MDs and ARNPs have a slightly different perspective, and are trained to use medications, such as Xanax, Adderall, and Ritilin. They do have full rights to prescribe them. At Vashon Natural Medicine, though our practitioners have different perspectives and training, they are all highly qualified and skilled in their knowledge and use of prescriptive medication. We have over 70 years of combined experience in primary care, and work collaboratively for our patients. We each treat disease by working with the patient as an individual, spending time with them to understand their issues and circumstances, and establishing a plan focused on healing for each person.