​This webpage replaces TG212/5 legal requirements for an authority/approval to prescribe drugs of addiction in NSW, which has been rescinded.

The authority under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW) from the NSW Ministry of Health (also referred to as approval and in other jurisdictions a ‘permit’) is legally required by a medical practitioner or nurse/midwife practitioner to prescribe or supply a drug of addiction in certain circumstances.

Application forms for authorities/approvals and further information on the application process and criteria are available on the Ministry of Health website.
Note: This authority/approval is distinct from and independent of any authority from the Commonwealth Department of Health, which is for the purpose of subsidising the cost of medicines for patients under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Any drug of addiction for a drug dependent person

To prescribe or supply a drug of addiction to a drug dependent person, including a cannabis medicine or an opioid in Schedule 8, a NSW authority/approval is required.

A drug dependent person defined under section 27 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW) means a person who has acquired, as a result of repeated administration of:

  • a drug of addiction, or
  • a prohibited drug within the meaning of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985,

an overpowering desire for the continued administration of such a drug.

Drugs of addiction for more than two months

An authority/approval from the NSW Ministry of Health is required to prescribe or supply drugs of addiction for non drug dependent persons for continuous or ongoing treatment of more than two months for any of the following:

  • any drug of addiction intended for administration by injection
  • any drug of addiction for inhalation, or for spray or application to mucous membranes
  • alprazolam
  • flunitrazepam
  • buprenorphine (except transdermal preparations)
  • dextromoramide
  • hydromorphone
  • methadone

Psychostimulants and unregistered drugs of addiction

Psychostimulants such as dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine, and methylphenidate, and any Schedule 8 when extemporaneously compounded (unregistered drug of addiction) for a particular person for therapeutic application to that person, may be prescribed or supplied only with the prior written authority/approval of the NSW Ministry of Health.

Psilocybine and MDMA

To prescribe psilocybine for the treatment of depression resistant to other treatments, or MDMA for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a prescriber with approval under the TGA Authorised Prescriber scheme will also require an authority/approval from NSW Ministry of Health.  
Current as at: Monday 18 December 2023
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services