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Pharmacotherapy Options.

Pharmacotherapy prescribing and dispensing in the ACT is governed by LOCAL GUIDELINES
which can be viewed or downloaded from HERE

In the ACT, the two usual options for pharmacotherapy treatment are methadone or buprenorphine (usually suboxone).

The links above will provide some information on these two treatments.


If you wish to apply for Pharmacotherapy treatment (either Methadone or Suboxone/Buprenorphine) in the ACT you will need to follow the ACT’s guidelines for pharmacotherapy treatment. This applies to both getting on to the programme initially, and to transferring from interstate. These guidelines are linked above.

The ACT’s guidelines state that, if you wish to enter Methadone or Buprenorphine treatment in the ACT, you may only enter the programme through one of the following routes:

•Alcohol and Drug Services - ACT Health (02) 6244 2591

•Directions Health Services (02) 6132 4800

•Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (02) 6284 6222

• a prescriber endorsed to INITIATE treatment (certain authorised GPs within the ACT)

Because of a current lack of places within General Practice, you will probably need to begin treatment at ACT Health’s Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS) at Woden (Level 2, Building 7 at Canberra Hospital).

Winnunga is the best option for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and they can usually get you on within 24 hours.

Directions is a good option but can take some time to get an appointment if you are not already a client.

The situation with places in general practice does change, so do feel free to look around, or to call CAHMA (or another service) to check on availability of places.

The procedure for getting onto pharmacotherapy treatment through ADS requires several steps. These involve:

• Ringing the Intake line (5124 9977) at ADS (they usually take your details and call you back)

• After being called back by Intake, appointments will be made for you to see (a) a key worker, who can assess your suitability for treatment (this involves taking a history and conducting a physical examination) and (b) a doctor , who can prescribe your treatment regime. These appointments will both be at Canberra Hospital in Woden, but may be at different times or even different days. You must attend both of these appointments if you wish to get onto treatment. You should be given appointments within 48 hours of calling Intake; if you do not get appointments within 48 hours, you can call CAHMA for assistance (6279 1670).

• You can then begin treatment by attending the ADS dosing outlet in Building 7, Canberra Hospital. Dosing hours are currently:

Weekdays: 7:15 AM - 12:30 PM, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Weekends: 7:15 AM - 9:30 AM, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

All Public Holidays: 7:15 AM - 9:30 AM, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

If you have come to the ACT from interstate without first arranging a transfer, you will need to follow the steps above.
If you are still dosing interstate, your prescriber can arrange a transfer to the ACT for you.
It is advised that you check with the ACT ADS to make sure your transfer has been approved before coming to Canberra.

If you wish to enter treatment through a private doctor, you will need to find:

• A doctor who is authorised to INITIATE pharmacotherapy treatment within the ACT. (This doctor will need to obtain authority to treat you, which may take a day or two).

• A pharmacy which is willing to dispense pharmacotherapy treatment to you.

Both DIRECTIONS and Winnunga Nimmityjah have their own intake guidelines. You should contact these services if you wish to investigate those options further.