Department of Health

Pharmacotherapy (opioid replacement therapy)

Methadone and buprenorphine are used in the treatment of opioid dependence. A number of resources can be accessed by prescribers and pharmacists who are administering these substances. This is to ensure that they are following standards that are consistent with best and safe clinical practice in treating opioid-dependent patients.

Training resources are produced by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, including online courses, course materials and face-to-face training. Other resources include clinical guidelines and publications from the department.

Medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and community pharmacies can apply for approval to become a pharmacotherapy prescriber or pharmacotherapy dispenser.

Medical or nurse practitioners may prescribe buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) or long-acting injectable buprenorphine for up to ten patients without the need to attend the Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) training. Health professionals may refer to the Policy for maintenance pharmacotherapy for opioid dependence for advice on the key regulatory and policy requirements for prescribing buprenorphine and methadone.

The Department of Health is currently working with Harm Reduction VictoriaExternal Link on opportunities to improve our pharmacotherapy services. Over 2024 we will be consulting with people with lived and living experience of opioid pharmacotherapy and healthcare workers providing these services. For more information, please email

Reviewed 07 January 2024


Contact us

Department of Health

Victorian Opioid Pharmacotherapy Program Mental Health and Wellbeing Division

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