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.

NSW Health has introduced new authority application forms. These new forms are quicker to complete and require less information and supporting documentation from prescribers. The new application forms are pdf fillable.

In the initial period following release of the new forms, both new and old forms will be accepted. From 1 February 2023 old application forms will no longer be accepted.

Fax the completed form 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 2030, St Leonards NSW 1590.

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.​​

More information is available on prescribing Schedule 8 cannabis medicines.

More information is available on prescribing unregistered Schedule 8 medicines.

Current as at: Friday 25 November 2022
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services