Pregabalin, also known by the brand name Lyrica, is an anti-epileptic drug, sometimes prescribed for chronic pain.
The consultation will look at whether pregabalin should become a Class C drug.
This would make it illegal to have the drugs without a prescription and criminalise those who supply or sell them to others.
The consultation will seek the opinions of the public, healthcare professionals, the pharmaceutical industry and others.
Joe Brogan, the Health and Social Care Board’s head of pharmacy, welcomed the consultation.
He wrote to the Home Office in 2013 asking them to look at the drug.
“Reclassification of this drug will make possession with intent to supply illegal.
“This will have a substantial impact on the criminal behaviour surrounding the supply of the drug.
“The hope is that it will reduce the number of deaths and the harm being caused by this drug.”
Mr Brogan said the impact of reclassification could take “years” to trickle down, but called it a “significant first step”.
“This action deals with the issue of when people have started to use this particular drug, but we need to talk more about prevention,” he said.
“Why is it being prescribed and used and is there more to be done in the prevention side of things?”