Department of Health

Who can lawfully be in possession of scheduled substances in Victoria? Also, who can lawfully supply scheduled substances from Victoria?

The following is a list of types of organisations and people that can be in the lawful possession of scheduled substances in Victoria and those that can lawfully supply them from Victoria,  categorised by the different schedules of substances.

Schedule 2 and Schedule 3

  • Schedule 2 substances are those that are available for a pharmacy customer to self-select from the shelf in a pharmacy in Victoria. The customer would not necessarily need to ask a pharmacy staff member to select the product, however a pharmacist must be available to provide advice if needed.

    The top of their label should include the words 'PHARMACY MEDICINE'.

    Schedule 3 substances are those that are available over-the-counter to a Victorian pharmacy customer if the customer first consults a pharmacist.

    The top of the label should include the words 'PHARMACIST ONLY MEDICINE'.

    • Any person that has obtained the product by retail from a pharmacy.
    • Any person who has obtained the product from another practitioner that can dispense Schedule 2 or 3 medicines to patients under their care with a label that specifies the specific patient. (such practitioners include a medical practitioner, dentist, veterinary practitioner, nurse practitioner, as well as midwife, optometrist or podiatrist in specific circumstances).
    • Any person/organisation holding a Victorian permit to be in lawful possession of the item.
    • Any organisation holding a Victorian licence to be in possession and to supply the product to customers who are legally able to receive them.
    • A pharmacist that is registered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and is working in an approved pharmacy.
    • A medical practitioner, dentist or nurse practitioner that are currently registered by AHPRA and who dispense, and then supply the product to an individual patient under their care in the lawful practice of their profession; (There are also specific circumstances where registered midwives, optometrists and podiatrists may also do this).
    • A veterinary practitioner currently registered by the Veterinary Practitioners Board of Victoria may and who dispense and then supply the product to the owner or carer of an individual animal under their care in the lawful practice of their profession.

Schedule 4 and Schedule 8

  • Schedule 4 substances are those that are available to an individual patient on a prescription from a health practitioner, such as a medical practitioner.

    When being supplied to a patient, the top of their label normally includes the words 'PRESCRIPTION ONLY MEDICINE'.

    Schedule 8 substances are those that have a high risk of abuse, misuse and physical or psychological dependence, so require specialised restrictions of manufacture, supply, distribution, possession and use. They are certainly only available to a patient on a prescription from a health practitioner, such as a medical practitioner.

    When being supplied to a patient, the top of their label normally includes the words 'CONTROLLED DRUG'.

  • Part 1. Persons or organisations commonly in lawful possession.

    • Any person that has been supplied the product (where the product has been dispensed and labelled with the person’s name) by a registered pharmacist working in an approved pharmacy, a registered medical practitioner, a registered dentist or a registered nurse practitioner.
    • Any carer (including a personal care assistant) of an above-mentioned person.
    • Any owner/person having the custody or care of an animal that has been supplied the product (labelled with the owner and the animal's names) by a registered veterinary practitioner.
    • Any person/organisation holding a Victorian permit to be in possession of the substance. A published list of current licence/permit holders which is updated monthly is available via the following link which will take you to a webpage containing another link that can be used to download the List of licence and permit holders.
    • Some health practitioners (including some nurses) that work within an organisation holding a health service permit have the authorisation to be in possession of some Schedule 4 substances. For more information see Medicines and poisons – Secretary approvals.

    Part 2. Some health practitioners that are currently registered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

    • Podiatrists that do not have a scheduled medicines endorsement on their registration. Any podiatrist may lawfully possess products containing 2% or less of either lignocaine or prilocaine (in accordance with Regulation 7(1)(16) of the DPCS Regulations and the Secretary Approval for podiatrists).
    • Optometrists that do not have a scheduled medicines endorsement on their registration. Any optometrist may lawfully possess eye preparations containing tropicamide, cyclopentolate, pilocarpine, physostigmine or synthetic cocaine (in accordance with Regulation 7(1)(15) of the DPCS Regulations and the Secretary Approval for optometrists).
    • Dental hygienists, dental therapists or oral health therapists may lawfully possess the following for dental care: adrenaline, articaine, felypressin, lignocaine, mepivacaine, prilocaine, therapeutic mercury or demeclocycline and triamcinolone (in combination for topical use) (in accordance with Regulation 7(1)(21) of the DPCS Regulations and the Secretary Approval for these health practitioners).

    Part 3. Other types of persons or organisations.

    • Masters or chief officers of ships in port in Victoria may lawfully possess those Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 substances that are required by State, Commonwealth or international law to complete the equipment of that ship (in accordance with Regulation 7(1)(13) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • Yacht owners or crew members who are members of Australian Sailing Limited and whose yachts are entered in races conducted under the rules of Australian Sailing Limited may lawfully possess those Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 substances contained in the medical kit for the Australian Sailing Limited race category in which the yacht is entered (in accordance with Regulation 7(1)(14) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • Registered nurse(s) that are employed or contracted by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) may lawfully possess azithromycin (in accordance with the Secretarial Approval for forensic nurse examiners from March 2012).
    • Ski Patrollers that hold a qualification certificate from the Australian Ski Patrol Association to be a ski patroller may lawfully possess methoxyflurane or nitrous oxide (in accordance with Regulation 7(1)(18) of the DPCS Regulations and the Secretary Approval for Ski Patrollers).
    • A director within the Victoria State Emergency Services Act 2005 may lawfully possess Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 substances that are required in the performance of state emergency services’ duties in an emergency coming within their jurisdiction (in accordance with Regulation 7(1)(19) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • Municipal councils or a nurse appointed by a municipal council carrying out an immunisation program, may lawfully possess vaccines (in accordance with Regulation 7(1)(20) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • On-site emergency response workers trained in Advanced First Aid at mine sites and power stations may possess and administer Schedule 4 substances in an emergency in accordance with a Secretary Approval (Regulation 7(1)(23) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • Owners of animal(s) (such as livestock animals) may lawfully possess a scheduled substance mixed in stockfeed on an order from a registered veterinary practitioner (in accordance with Regulation 7(1)(10)).
  • Part 1. Any organisation holding a Victorian licence to possess and supply the product to authorised customers.

    A published list of current licence/permit holders which is updated monthly is available via the following link which will take you to a webpage containing another link that can be used to download the List of licence and permit holders.

    Part 2. Some registered health practitioners.

    • A registered medical practitioner may lawfully possess and supply any Schedule 4 or 8 substance in the lawful practice of his/her profession; A medical practitioner may need to hold a treatment permit in order to supply some Schedule 8 substances. More information about this is on the following webpage Patient Schedule 8 treatment permits.
    • A registered pharmacist working in a registered pharmacy may lawfully possess and supply any Schedule 4 or 8 substance in the lawful practice of his/her profession.
    • A registered dentist may lawfully possess and supply any Schedule 4 or 8 substance in the lawful practice of his/her profession (except methadone).
    • A registered veterinary practitioner may lawfully possess and supply any Schedule 4 or 8 substance in the lawful practice of his/her profession.
    • A registered nurse practitioner may lawfully possess and supply any Schedule 4 or 8 substance in the lawful practice of his/her profession. A nurse practitioner may need to hold a treatment permit in order to supply some Schedule 8 substances. More information about this is on the following webpage Patient Schedule 8 treatment permits.
    • Endorsed midwives. Schedule 4 and 8 substances that endorsed midwives may lawfully possess and supply are available via the following link for authorised registered midwives: Approved by the Minister for Health.
    • Endorsed podiatrists. Schedule 4 substances that endorsed podiatrists may lawfully possess and supply are available on a webpage, under the section entitled 'Authorised podiatrists' via the following link: Approved by the Minister for Health.
    • Endorsed optometrists. Schedule 4 substances that endorsed optometrists may lawfully possess and supply are preparations that may be applied directly to the eye: Approved by the Minister for Health.
    • A rural and isolated practice nurse working within specific rural health services. Lists of scheduled substances that such nurses can lawfully possess are listed in the Primary Clinical Care Manual, as outlined in the Victorian Government Gazette document from 4 January 2018: Gazettal approval under Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.

Schedule 5 and Schedule 6.                                                  

  • Schedule 5 and 6 substances are chemicals found in products that can potentially be used by an everyday person (which may include domestic products).

    The top of a Schedule 5 product label would include the word 'CAUTION'.

    The top of a Schedule 6 product label would include the word 'POISON'.

    Any organisation is able to lawfully possess or supply Schedule 5 or Schedule 6 substances.

Schedule 7 substances that CANNOT be sold by retail

  • Schedule 7 substances that cannot be sold by retail (i.e. listed-regulated Schedule 7 substances) are very dangerous chemicals that may only be obtained by those that hold a poisons licence or permit.

    The top of their label may include the words 'DANGEROUS POISON'; however that is not always the case.

    They include: acrylonitrile, arsenic, benzene, benzidine-based azo dyes, cacodylic acid, cyanides (metallic), derivatives of azo dyes, dibromo-3-chloropropane, 4-dimethylaminoazobenzene, fluoroacetamide, fluoroacetic acid (concentrated form), hydrocyanic acid, 4,4'-methylenebis[2-chloroaniline], strychnine, thallium and vinyl chloride.

  • Any person/organisation holding a Victorian permit to be in possession of the item.
  • Any organisation holding a Victorian licence to be in possession and to supply the product to authorised customers that hold a Victorian licence or permit.

Schedule 7 substances that CAN be sold by retail

  • Schedule 7 substances that can be sold by retail (i.e. non listed-regulated Schedule 7 substances) are chemicals available only to specialised or authorised users who have the skills necessary to handle them safely. Schedule 7 substances are generally not for use in a domestic setting. Many Schedule 7 substances are agricultural chemicals.

    The top of their label should include the words 'DANGEROUS POISON', however that is not always the case.

  • Any organisation or person aged 18 years or over is able to lawfully possess a non-listed-regulated Schedule 7 substance under Drugs and Poisons legislation; however they may have to undergo training in chemical use and hold:

    • an Agricultural Chemical User Permit (ACUP) issued by Agriculture Victoria (different to a poisons permit) to use Schedule 7 substances registered for use in Australia
    • a Worksafe Licence (different to a poisons licence) to use many Schedule 7 substances.
  • Any retailer is able to lawfully supply a non-listed-regulated Schedule 7 substance under Drugs and Poisons legislation; however customers must be aged 18 or over, and it may be necessary for customers to hold an ACUP permit (as indicated above).

  • Any organisation holding a Victorian licence to be in possession and to supply the substance to authorised customers that hold a Victorian licence or permit.

Schedule 8: See above (with Schedule 4)

Schedule 9

  • Schedule 9 substances are those that have a very high risk of abuse and misuse, so are should not available for use by individual consumers at all.

    Their manufacture, possession, sale and use is prohibited by law except when required for legitimate medical or scientific research, or for legitimate analytical, teaching or training purposes.

    They are classed as 'PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES' in the SUSMP.

    • Any person/organisation holding a Victorian permit to be in possession of the item. A published list of current licence/permit holders (which is updated monthly) is available via the following link (which will take you to a web-page containing another link that can be used to download the List of licence and permit holders.
    • Any person that has been supplied the product (that has been labelled with the person's name) by a registered pharmacist working in an approved pharmacy or a registered medical practitioner. However, this would be a very infrequent circumstance, as it is rare for a person to require a Schedule 9 substance for therapeutic use.
    • Any organisation holding a Victorian licence to be in possession and to supply the product to authorised customers.
    • A registered pharmacist that is working in an approved pharmacy and who has been issued with a permit under Regulation 14 of the DPCS Regulations.
    • A medical practitioner, veterinary practitioner or dentist who has been issued with a permit under Regulation 14 of the DPCS Regulations.

Schedule 10

  • Schedule 10 substances are those that are of such danger to health they warrant prohibition of sale, supply and use. Often these substances are only prohibited in specific circumstances that are defined in their Schedule 10 listing within the SUSMP.

  • It would be unlawful to be in possession of, or to supply Schedule 10 substances in Victoria without authorisation under Victorian DPCS legislation.

    Because the circumstances under which substances are listed within Schedule 10 of the SUSMP have been specifically prohibited, it would be extremely unlikely that the Department would issue a Victorian authorisation for the possession/supply of a Schedule 10 substance.

Reviewed 06 April 2022

Health.vic

Contact details

Postal address: Medicines and Poisons Regulation Department of Health GPO Box 4057 Melbourne VIC 3001

Medicines and Poisons Regulation Department of Health

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