The NSW Ministry of Health issues authorities to medical practitioners to prescribe drugs of addiction (Schedule 8 drugs), including opioid medications for chronic pain.
An authority from the Ministry of Health is required to prescribe or supply a drug of addiction for:
  1. a drug dependent person
  2. a non-drug dependent person who is prescribed or supplied with the following drugs of addiction continuously for more than 2 months:
    • any injectable form of any drug of addiction
    • any drug of addiction for intranasal use, or for spray or application to mucous membranes
    • alprazolam
    • buprenorphine (except transdermal preparations)
    • flunitrazepam
    • hydromorphone
    • methadone

It is important to note that an authority from the NSW Ministry of Health is distinct from, and independent of, an authority from Medicare Australia which is for the purposes of a subsidy under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

An authority is not required to prescribe a drug of addiction to a person (drug dependent or non drug dependent) who is admitted to a hospital as an inpatient, unless the inpatient stay exceeds 14 consecutive days.

  • To apply for authorisation to prescribe a Schedule 8 drug of addiction, use the form:

Application for Authority to Prescribe a S8 Drug of Addiction - Pain Management.

To calculate oMEDD (oral Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose), visit the Faculty of Pain Medicine ANZCA for Opioid Dose Conversion Table

  • To apply for authorisation to prescribe alprazolam or flunitrazepam, use the form:

Application for Authority to Prescribe a Schedule 8 Drug - Alprazolam or Flunitrazepam

Fax the completed form and supporting documentation to Pharmaceutical Regulatory Unit on (02) 9424 5889. Practices without fax facilities can post forms and supporting documentation to Pharmaceutical Regulatory Unit, NSW Ministry of Health, Locked Mail Bag 961, North Sydney NSW 2059.

See prescribe a psychostimulant medication for information about psychostimulant prescribing.

For assistance or further information contact the Monitoring and Compliance Section, Pharmaceutical Regulatory Unit on (02) 9424 5923 during business hours.

Page Updated: Friday 29 July 2016