Methadone/Buprenorphine Treatment: available
Each State and Territory has their own administrative procedures:
Australian Capital Territory (ACT):
- Provide information to the Methadone/Buprenorphine Clinic:
Any person seeking methadone/buprenorphine treatment whilst visiting Canberra should request that their home prescriber send a letter, by post, to the Canberra Public Methadone/Buprenorphine Clinic containing the following information:
- Identification details, i.e. date of birth, photograph and/or brief description of person;
- ACT address whilst visiting Canberra;
- Current dose of methadone/buprenorphine
- Date of last dose of methadone/buprenorphine;
- Days that methadone/buprenorphine dosing will be required;
- Any significant intercurrent medical condition that may effect their treatment (e.g. Hep C, HIV/AIDS);
- Whether or not the patient has been receiving take home doses of methadone/buprenorphine; and
- Whether or not an interpreter will be required and the language.
- Appointment with Medical Officer
Prior to the person commencing on methadone/buprenorphine in Canberra he/she will be required to see a medical officer authorised to prescribe methadone/buprenorphine in Canberra. Therefore details on the expected date of arrival should be faxed to the Canberra Public Methadone/Buprenorphine Clinic, as soon as practical, so that an appointment can be made with a medical officer. It is preferable that at least two weeks notice be given of the expected date of arrival. The details of the appointment (time, date and venue) will be confirmed via a return fax.
- Presenting to the Clinic:
On presentation to the Clinic for the appointment with the medical Officer the patient should bring at least two forms of identification, one of which should include a photograph. Doctors are only available during business hours, that is 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday.
|The address of the clinic is:Methadone/Buprenorphine Clinic
The Canberra Hospital
Garran ACT 2606
Phone: +61 2 6207 9977
(24 hour contact line)
Fax: +61 2 6244 4622
(contact details last updated August 24, 2010)
|For further info on opioid replacement treatments in the ACT area contact:Amy Faden
Alcohol and Drug Program
Phone: +61 2 6244 2591
New South Wales (NSW):
The intending traveller should provide notice to the Pharmaceutical Services Branch (PSB) at least six weeks in advance to provide sufficient time for arrangements to be made. It is recommended that notice should be provided initially by fax, giving the following information (in English):
Full name (including aliases), date of birth, address while in NSW, arrival and departure dates, prescription details (e.g. dose in mg, number of takeaways provided for travelling due date for first dose in NSW, dates on which patients will require doses), and brief clinical report (e.g. how long have they been on methadone, are they stable, is the dose increasing or decreasing, are they trustworthy with takeaways, are they currently abusing other drugs).
The PSB will make arrangements with a suitable clinic/prescriber and will notify the intending traveller of these details by return fax. The traveller must then send originals of their documentation by airmail to the nominated prescriber, including their photograph and their doctor’s signature. When they present at the clinic they must provide identification such as a passport.
Pharmaceutical Services Branch contact details:
New South Wales Health Department
Pharmaceutical Services Branch
Phone: +61 2 98795246
Fax: +61 2 98595170
Information can also be obtained from:
Dr. Andrew Byrne
General Practitioner, Drug and Alcohol
75 Redfern Street
New South Wales, 2016
Phone: +61 2 9319 5524
Fax: +61 2 9318 0631
The intended traveller should get in touch with a state government body called DIRECT LINE, phone number: +61 3 94161818. Direct line is specific to Melbourne/Victoria and will find for the patient a methadone prescribing doctor and methadone dosing pharmacy as close as possible to where the patient is residing. The following information should be given: name, address while in Melbourne, day and time of arrival, and treatment details. DIRECT LINE will arrange an appointment for the person with an appropriate provider. The patient will be notified of the appointment details. The treatment details should then be faxed from the patient’s home prescriber to the nominated prescriber in Melbourne/Victoria, giving: treatment history, details regarding dose/frequency, number of takeaway doses that have been provided for travelling, date of last dose provided (including take away doses). Confirmation from the patient’s home prescriber of the patient’s stability and participation in a program for at least three months would be required to enable takeaway doses to be authorised in Victoria.
Another very useful service is PAMS (Pharmacotherapy, Advocacy, Mediation and Support), a service for people who are on methadone and buprenorphine programs in Victoria, Australia. This can include people who are travelling or visiting Victoria. PAMS assists people who are having problems with their methadone or buprenorphine program. Apart from providing assistance, if their program has been terminated suddenly against their wishes, if they are not eligible for takeaway doses or if they are having difficulty paying for the cost of the program (it costs around 5.00 to 10 AUS$ per day in Victoria), PAMS can also be contacted, if patients can not find a service provider. PAMS advocate for people, they can also act as mediators and they can refer people to a more appropriate service if necessary. They also have information on service provider guidelines and consumer rights and responsibilities in Victoria. PAMS is funded by the Victorian State Government and independently managed by Harm Reduction Victoria, the Victorian Drug User Organisation:
The PAMS Service
Harm Reduction Victoria
PO Box 2435
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Phone: +61 3 9329 1500
Free call: 1800 44 38 44 (can be used in Victoria only)
Fax: +61 3 93291501
(Info on Victoria last updated June 21, 2013)
Foreign visitors can be treated with methadone if the following requirements are met:
- Under usual circumstances, at least 30 days notice of intention to transfer is required. The patient’s doctor should contact the Senior Advisor at the Drugs of Dependence Unit to discuss the transfer.
- A letter from the patient’s methadone prescriber containing the following details should be sent to the Senior Advisor at the Drugs of Dependence Unit:
- the full name, date of birth and address of the person travelling;
- a recent photograph of the patient;
- the dates of arrival in and departure from Queensland;
- all Queensland stopover points;
- the daily dose of methadone or buprenorphine;
- relevant clinical information (e.g. duration of current treatment and general treatment progress).
- Once the above information is received the Senior Advisor will contact a treatment agency in the appropriate area/s and advise the patient’s prescriber of the transfer arrangements whilst they are in Queensland.
Drugs of Dependence Unit
Locked Bag 21
Fortitude Valley BC QLD 4006
Phone: +61 7 3328 9890
Fax: +61 7 3328 9821
(Contact details last updated March 2012)
Opioid Treament Clinic:
Roma Street Clinic
6th Floor – Biala City Community Health Centre
270 Roma Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
Phone : +61-7-38375666
Fax : +61-7-38375741
Hours: 9am – 4.40pm (Monday – Friday)
Large Public Opioid Treament Clinic (600 clients) staffed by specialist Medical and Nursing personnel. Clients are dosed at a community pharmacy close to where they live. The pharmacists charge a dispensing fee of around AUST $ 2 – 5 per day.
INFORMATION FOR OVERSEAS METHADONE PATIENTS TRAVELLING TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Any person requiring continuation of methadone treatment whilst visiting Western Australia, should request that their current prescriber provides the following information to Next Step – Specialist Drug & Alcohol Services. This information should be received, in English, at least three weeks prior to expected arrival date and should be sent by fax or post:
- Details of current prescriber – name, address, telephone and fax numbers
- Patient identification details – full name (including aliases), date of birth, address and telephone number in WA, photogragh
- Arrival and departure dates
- Methadone details: current dose in mg, length of time on methadone, stable/increasing/decreasing dose?, regular takeaway doses?
- Date of last supervised dose
- Number of unsupervised doses provided for travel
- Dates for required dosing in WA
- Any other relevant clinical information that may impact on treatment.
Upon receipt of the above information, Next Step will send a letter with appointment details to the referring doctor and the person travelling. The person must attend the appointment at Next Step in East Perth with two forms of identification (one of which should include a photograph), to commence on methadone in WA.
Manager – Triage & Advisory Services
Next Step – Specialist Drug & Alcohol Services
32 Moore Street
East Perth, WA 6004
Phone: + 61 8 9219 1919
Fax: + 61 8 9219 1999
(Info on Western Australia last updated August 14, 2000)
The home prescriber of the intended traveller should contact the Senior Pharmacist (Operations) three months in advance and provide the following information: the name and address of the person travelling, a recent photograph of the patient, the dates of arrival in and departure from Tasmania, the daily dose of methadone, and clinical information (e.g. the duration of current treatment, take-away-doses). Methadone maintenance treatment is based on supervised dosing and patients should be seen at least once each week for a supervised dose and dispensing of further supplies. Although it is not illegal to carry legitimately prescribed drugs into and out of the State it is not desirable to allow this type of patient to be in possession of e.g. more than one week’s treatment maximum of methadone.
Senior Pharmacist – Operations
Department of Community and Health Services
Pharmaceutical Services Branch
GPO Box 125 B
Hobart, TAS 7001
Phone: +61 3 333906
Fax: +61 3 333904
Intending travellers to South Australia who are stable on a methadone or buprenorphine program may be transferred to medical practitioners in South Australia for continued dosing/treatment.
The following information should be provided in English by the original prescriber by facsimile and by letter to be received at least two weeks before the expected date of arrival:
- Name of person sending details (current prescriber), address, telephone and facsimile numbers
- Patient identification details – full name (including aliases), date of birth, two passport size photographs, brief physical description (and their address, telephone and facsimile numbers)
- Proposed fixed address in South Australia
- Date expected to arrive in South Australia and proposed departure date
- Current daily dose of methadone/buprenorphine and stability of this dose (i.e. recent increases or decreases in dose)
- Length of time on current methadone/buprenorphine program
- Number of non-supervised doses the patient has been receiving
- Date of last dose administered
- Number of non-supervised doses provided for travel
- Any significant medical complication that may affect treatment
- Any other drugs prescribed or taken for medical treatment
- Any other drugs not prescribed but taken or abused (e.g. alcohol, benzodiazepines)
- If the patient does not speak and understand English, if an interpreter will be required and the language
- Any other information the prescriber believes is necessary for continued safe treatment
This information must be signed and dated by the prescriber.
The Drugs and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA) on receipt of the above will arrange an appointment with a methadone/buprenorphine prescriber and provide the above information to that prescriber before the expected arrival. The name, address, appointment time etc will then be faxed to the original prescriber to be released to the patient. The patient should then attend the prescriber at the prearranged appointment time. The patient should take with him/her identification such as his/her passport.
The above information needs to be sent to:
Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA)
Drugs of Dependence Unit
State Pharmacotherapy Coordinator
PO Box 6
Adelaide 5000, South Australia
Phone: +61 8 8274 3434
Fax: +61 8 8274 3433
(Info on South Australia last updated June 12, 2008)
The Methadone Program has been established only recently and on a very small scale. Detailed information will be added here as soon as possible.
Importation of Methadone/Buprenorphine to Australia: possible
Australian Customs requirements regarding travellers under treatment with internationally controlled drugs (including substances used in drug substitution treatments):
- The controlled substance should be declared by the passenger on the Inward Passenger Card (IPC);
- The controlled substance should be presented to a Customs Officer for inspection;
- A permit from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) authority or a prescription from a medical practitioner for the controlled substance should be presented to a Customs Officer for inspection; and
- The amount of controlled substance carried by the passenger should be as specified on either document mentioned in previous requirement. The quantity imported should generally be not more than 3 months supply at the manufacturer’s recommended dose and must be consistent with the length of stay in Australia.
We strongly advise to keep to these regulations!
If more information is required we recommend to visit the following websites:
Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA):
Australian Customs Service (ACS):
in particular: Australian Customs Service
Any comments, corrections and additional information greatly appreciated.
Please address all correspondence to:
Bremer Platz 18-20
Phone: +49 2571-582765 or +49 251-60123
Fax: +49 251-666580
(This page last revised and updated in parts August 24, 2010)