Medicines and poisons

Medical practitioners and schedule 8 medicines

This page has information for medical practitioners about the prescription and supply of Schedule 8 (S8) substances.

The Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2012 states that the following applies to medical practitioners:

  • authorised prescribers, including doctors, nurse practitioners, eligible midwives, dentists and veterinarians, are prohibited from prescribing a S8 substance to themselves
  • prescribers must check the Monitored Medicines database (NTScript) prior to issuing a prescription for a monitored medicine
  • the Chief Health Officer (CHO) can also declare Schedule 4 substances to be restricted if additional controls are needed to ensure safe access and use.

For information about the use prescribing contracts list please contact Medicines and Poisons during office hours on (08) 89227 341 or by emailing

Read about the laws that apply to S8 drugs in the S8 Code of Practice, further down this page.

Restricted S8 substances

S8 substances are classified as either restricted or unrestricted.

Restricted S8 substances include:

  • buprenorphine depot Injections (Buvidal® and Sublocade®)
  • buprenorphine (Subutex®) 0.4mg, 2mg and 8mg for sublingual administration
  • buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) 2mg/0.5mg, 8mg/2mg in film form for sublingual or buccal administration
  • methadone liquid 5mg/mL for oral administration
  • dexamfetamine
  • lisdexamfetamine
  • methylphenidate.


The following applies for the supply of dexamphetamine, lisdexamfetamine and methylphenidate:

  • authorisation from the CHO is required for each individual patient before a prescription can be issued
  • only paediatricians, psychiatrists, physicians, neurologists and registrars in training in these disciplines may make the decision to initiate supply
  • other medical practitioners may continue supply after one of the above specialists or registrars has done so
  • under such a co-management situation the patient must be seen by a specialist or registrar at least every two years
  • specialists may initiate supply without an authorisation, but must obtain an authorisation if supply exceeds 30 days.

The following applies for the supply of buprenorphine (Subutex®), buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®), buprenorphine depot Injections (Buvidal® and Sublocade®) and methadone liquid:

  • medical practitioners providing pharmacotherapies for opioid dependence need to complete approved training initially and demonstrate continued clinical involvement and the undertaking of refresher training
  • an authority from the CHO to supply buprenorphine, buprenorphine/naloxone, buprenorphine depot injections and methadone is required for each individual patient before a prescription can be written or supplied
  • the framework for supply of these medications covers the writing of prescriptions, details of authorisation requirements, period of supply, dispensing of medications and takeaway privileges.

Unrestricted S8 substances

Unrestricted S8 substances includes common analgesics such as morphine, oxycodone and tapentadol as well as some benzodiazepines such as alprazolam.


The following applies for the supply of unrestricted substances:

  • medical practitioners may supply unrestricted S8 substances for the treatment of medical and surgical conditions but not for the treatment of addiction
  • a medical practitioner may only supply unrestricted S8 substances for up to 15 patients at a time
  • this number does not include patients receiving palliative care in end of life situation, hospital inpatients or those in need of emergency treatment
  • a medical practitioner may apply to the CHO for an authority to prescribe unrestricted S8 substances for more than this number of patients
  • medical practitioners must notify the CHO of the supply of unrestricted S8 substances under certain circumstances, for example if supply exceeds 8 weeks, if certain dosage levels are exceeded or if their circumstances may be conducive to possible abuse.

Electronic Prescribing

The NT permits electronic prescriptions for all Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines in accordance with the Electronic Transactions (Northern Territory) Act 2000.

This includes for interstate prescriptions and prescriptions for Medicinal Cannabis products, however there are separate regulations that apply to interstate prescriptions.

24-hour clinical advice

The Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) offers professional advice to medical practitioners, pharmacists and other health professionals 24-hours.

Call DACAS on 1800 111 092.

Storage and transport

Health professionals producing or storing controlled Schedule 8 drugs read the Code of Practice for Schedule 8 Substances: Storage and Transport.

Schedule 8 code of practice

Document title


Document Description

Code of Practice S8s - Volume 1

Code of Practice S8 Substances


Code of Practice S8s - Volume 1 - Part 4

Code of Practice S8 Substances


Code of Practice S8s - Volume 1 - Part 4B

Code of Practice S8 Substances

Code of Practice S8s - Volume 2

Code of Practice S8 Substances


Appendix A - Notification of Supply of an Unrestricted S8 Substance

Appendix A

Notification Form

Appendix B - Application for Authority to Prescribe a Restricted S8 Psychostimulant Medication

Appendix B

Application Form

Appendix C - Application for Authority to Prescribe a Restricted S8 Substance for Addiction

Appendix C

Application Form

Appendix D - Clinical Assessment for the Level of Supervised Dosing

Appendix D

Assessment Tool

Appendix E1 - Application for Variation to Regular OSD Takeaway USD - Buprenorphine, Naloxone

Appendix E1

Application Form

Appendix E2 - Application for Variation to Regular OSD Takeaway USD - Methadone, Buprenorphine 

Appendix E2

Application Form

Appendix F - Applications for OSD Takeaway USD for Travel

Appendix F


Agreement for patients prescribed general medications
Opiate Pharmacotherapy Contract
Drug Loss Discrepancy Report Form
Information sheets
Requirements of Prescriptions for S8 Substances
Information for Patients on S8 Medications DOCX (65.9 KB) 
Interstate S8 prescriptions state phone and fax:
Phone: (02) 6205 0998
Fax: (02) 6205 0997
Main switch phone: (02) 9391 9944
Fax: (02) 9424 5860
Non-methadone phone: (02) 9424 5923
Fax: (02) 9424 5889
Methadone phone: (02) 9424 5921
Fax:(02) 9424 5885
Phone: (07) 3328 9890
Fax: (07) 3328 9821
South Australia
Phone: 1300 652 584
Fax: 1300 658 447
Phone: (03) 6166 0400
Fax: (03) 6233 3904
Phone: 1300 364 545 select #1
Fax: 1300 360 830
Western Australia 
Phone: (08) 9222 6883
Fax: (08) 9222 2463
Phone: (08) 8922 7341
Fax: (08) 8922 7200
Medical Practitioner Guide to Supplying Isotretinoin (47KB)
The Scheduled Substances Clinical Advisory Committee (48KB)
Patient Delivered Partner Therapy (47KB)
Interstate Health Departments - S8 Drug Monitoring (44KB)
Recommended reading on treatment of pain
Opioid recommendations in general practice on the NSW Health website.
National Prescribing Service (NPS) Medicine Wise website
Patient guide to managing pain and opioid medicines Choosing Wisely Australia website

Related information

Read more about scheduled substances in the Clinical Advisory Committee (CLAC).

For information on the following topics go to medicines and poisons safety:

  • therapeutic goods recalls
  • buying medicines online.

Print all pages in this section

Last updated: 02 February 2022

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!