can now be used to submit applications and receive approvals online for Schedule 8 medicines under the NSW Opioid Treatment program.  SafeScript NSW allows you to monitor and track your approvals in real time and see your patient's approval history.  

OTP medicines are part of the Section 100 Highly Specialised Drugs (HSD) Program (Community Access) arrangements. For further information, including FAQs and example PBS scripts see Opioid Treatment Program – Transition to Section 100 Highly Specialised Drugs Program​.

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Mandatory notifications

Change in dosing point

Prescribers are responsible for notifying the NSW Ministry of Health of any permanent change to a NSW OTP patient's dosing point. Dosing point changes can be made in SafeScript NSW. If you are unable to register for SafeScript NSW​ the NSW Opioid Treatment Program: Notification of Permanent Change in Dosing Point (updated form) can be used for this purpose.

Locum arrangements during planned leave

NSW OTP prescribers are required to arrange a locum when they are going on planned leave. The locum will ideally be experienced in the management of drug dependent patients and if possible, the locum should be an accredited prescriber. Please fax advice about locum arrangements to the OTP section, Pharmaceutical Services Unit on (02) 9424 5885.

OTP patients overseas travel dosing arrangement

NSW OTP prescribers are required to notify by writing to the Ministry of Health of any overseas travel arrangement for an OTP patient. General advice regarding arrangements for travel is provided in section 3.5 of the NSW Opioid Treatment Program: clinical guidelines for methadone and buprenorphine treatment of opioid dependence. Further advice should be sought from Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) or Smartraveller regarding travelling with any prescribed medication overseas.

For the Opioid Treatment Program the approved prescriber is also advised to:

  • make arrangements well in advance of travel
  • clarify with the relevant embassies or consulates of the destination, that there are no impediments to possession of methadone or buprenorphine
  • provide the patient with a letter stating that the person is in possession of the drug to treat a medical condition in accordance with Australian laws
  • notify Pharmaceutical Services Unit in writing of any such arrangements
  • notify the current dosing point of the travel arrangements and ensure that they are aware of the expected departure and arrival date
  • consider prescribing methadone tablets (Physeptone) instead of methadone syrup, and buprenorphine/naloxone film (Suboxone) instead of buprenorphine table​ts or film (Subutex), for the period of travel
  • ensure the medication is in its original packaging with the dispensing label affixed and is carried in the hand luggage and declared at customs

Methadone tablets should not be prescribed as a Pharmaceutical Benefit subsidised by Medicare Australia and the patient will be required to pay the full cost of the medication. For extended overseas stay (generally > 30 days), prescribers should arrange for local dosing services at the destination.

For information regarding Opioid Treatment Programs in overseas countries, refer to the Travel Resource Centre or contact the respective embassies in Australia.

Information for prescribers accredited in other states/territories

Interstate prescribers who wish to temporarily transfer a patient to the NSW OTP are required to complete and submit an PDF Application for Temporary Interstate Transfer to NSW Opioid Treatment Program.

Interstate prescribers who wish to permanently transfer a patient to the NSW OTP are advised to liaise with local clinics or accredited private prescribers in NSW. While arrangements are being for a NSW accredited prescriber to take over management of the patient, an application for temporary interstate transfer can be made.

Interstate prescribers interested in obtaining accreditation in NSW should contact Clinical Policy, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Centre for Population Health on (02) 9391 9000.

Transferring a NSW OTP patient to another state/territory

In some states and territories, a NSW prescription for methadone or buprenorphine for an OTP patient may be dispensed. Specific prescribing requirements can be obtained by contacting the relevant state or territory:

  • ACT: Pharmaceutical Services Section - ACT Health
    (02) 5124 9208
  • NT: Medicines and Poisons Control - Department of Health
    (08) 8922 7341
  • QLD : Healthcare Approval and Regulation Unit - Queensland Health
    137 846
  • SA: Drugs of Dependence Unit - SA Health
    1300 652 584
  • TAS: Pharmaceutical Services Branch - Department of Health
    (03) 6166 0400
  • VIC: Medicines and Poisons Regulation Unit - Department of Health and Human Services
    1300 364 545
  • WA: Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch - Department of Health
    (08) 9222 6883

Current as at: Tuesday 19 March 2024
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services