Only endorsed prescribers may commence a patient on opioid maintenance treatment or prescribe for more than 5 stable patients at the same time.
Non-endorsed prescribers can only prescribe methadone or buprenorphine for up to 5 drug dependent patients.
Category 3 of the ACT Controlled Medicines Prescribing Standards states conditions and criteria for prescribing methadone and buprenorphine or buprenorphine/naloxone under an approval. You are also required to prescribe these drugs in line with the National Guidelines for Medication Assisted Treatment of Opioid Dependence. Prescribers should also endeavour to comply with the Opioid Maintenance Treatment in the ACT: Local Policies and Procedures wherever possible.
If you would like to become an endorsed prescriber to treat drug dependency in the ACT, you are required to undertake ACT Health training. These requirements are outlined in the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods (Guidelines for treatment of opioid dependency) Approval. Please submit an Application for Endorsement to Treat Drug Dependency to us.
Community pharmacies in the ACT must be licensed to dispense methadone or buprenorphine for treatment of drug dependency. Pharmacists can apply to HPS to obtain an Opioid Dependency Treatment Centre Licence. You can apply for this by submitting an Application for Opioid Dependency Treatment Centre Licence (Pharmacist).
You must also dispense methadone or buprenorphine in line with the National Guidelines for Medication Assisted Treatment of Opioid Dependence. You should also comply with the Opioid Maintenance Treatment in the ACT: Local Policies and Procedures wherever possible.
All pharmacists dispensing treatment must successfully complete training for the safe administration and dispensing of opioid maintenance treatment. These requirements are outlined in the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods (Guidelines for treatment of opioid dependency) Approval.
You can access local contacts and program related information from the Alcohol and Drug Services webpage.
Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods (MPTG) Regulation
The MPTG Regulation defines a drug dependent person for controlled medicine purposes as someone with a condition who demonstrates the following as a result from their use of medicine or substances:
- Impaired control
- Drug-seeking behaviour that suggests impaired control
They are also defined as someone who is likely to experience symptoms of mental or physical distress or disorder as a result of the cessation of medicine or substances.