Open HoursServicesDoctorsGP RegistrarNursesPatientsSupport StaffMedical StudentsNursing StudentsNurse Clinics

FAQs Continued


Schedule 8 & potentially addictive medication

  1. My doctor seems to have severely restricted certain of my 'narcotic' medications - why is that? What are Schedule 8 medicines? What is the Pharmaceutical Services Branch and Section 22 permits?
    Doctors must act under strict government regulations regarding the prescription of so-called S8 or narcotic medications. S8 medications include the 'opiates' (morphine, pethidine, oxycodone, fentanyl, dextromoramide, and others), amphetamines and related stimulants (dexamphetamine), benzodiazepines (flunitrazepam [Rohypnol]), and certain others.
    These medications are restricted because they can cause addiction, and be subject to misuse and abuse which can result in disability and death. Regulation of these medicines is controlled by the Tasmanian Pharmaceutical Services Branch.
    If you have been regularly prescribed any S8 medicines, a so-called Section 22 permit must be obtained by your doctor. This permit specifies the dose that the doctor is allowed to prescribe - the doctor is not permitted to routinely exceed that amount, by law. If so, then application must be made for another permit. S8 medications subject to a Section 22 permit can only be prescribed by the one doctor in the practice, you should not ask other doctors for these prescriptions as you will normally be refused.
    If you are regularly taking S8 medicines, you will always be required, from time to time, to be reviewed by a specialist to help confirm that the treatment that you are on is appropriate in both timing and amount - such specialist reviews are also required under the regulations.
  2. I am taking prescribed S8 medications from my doctor - what must I do?
    If you are being routinely prescribed S8 medicines by your doctor, it is very important that you co-operate fully with your doctor, and act in accordance with State government regulations, regarding these highly-regulated medicines. You should also:
    • only obtain prescriptions for these medications from the one doctor in the practice
    • be prepared to see specialists from time to time to have your condition reviewed and assessed
    • store these medications securely in your home, out of site, and away from the reach of children
    • do not tell anyone including your friends that you are taking these medications
    • lost or stolen prescriptions must always be reported to the police, and you must have a 'police number' issued to show your doctor before you will be permitted to have any replacement prescriptions
    • take you medications strictly as prescribed, do not ask for extra prescriptions
    • let your doctor know if you think that your condition is worsening and that a change in medication may be required
    • never ever be tempted to sell (divert) or even give away your S8 medications, there are very severe penalties and these drugs can be dangerous in the wrong hands
    • do not obtain prescriptions for extra S8 medicines from a medical practice(s) other than the one that you normally attend, or you may be accused of "doctor shopping" and be subject to severe restrictions and even penalties
    • do not attend this practice on nights or weekends to obtain your S8 prescriptions, attend only during weekday daytime surgery times
    • be organised, and don't wait till the last minute to request further prescriptions when you have run out.
  3. My doctor won't give me injections for narcotics for my chronic painful condition, why not?
    It is now considered 'best practice' not to treat chronic painful conditions with injections of narcotics, and doctors at this practice will not do that. We will also not prescribe and permit you to self-inject narcotic medications at home under any circumstances.
  4. Can a new patient get a script for (regular) S8 medication on their first visit?
    The practice policy is not to prescribe S8 or other potentially addictive medication on a patient's first consultation. Patients with conditions requiring medication from these classes should ensure that their current treating doctor writes to the practice well before they transfer so that the necessary arrangements can be put in place to provide new patients with the medication they need.
    Note that for patients regularly taking S8 medication, we require that they live in the local area, if you do not you may be asked to transfer to a doctor closer to where you live.
  5. I am being transferred to the Methadone Maintenance Program (MMP) instead of continuing to receive normal S8 prescriptions, why is that?
    It is illegal for doctors in Tasmania to prescribe narcotic S8 medication principally for the treatment of drug addiction. If government regulators decide after careful consideration that your principal problem is one of addiction, then you may be required, under the law, to transfer your treatment to the MMP.
    Note that, if you have a painful condition, that methadone as prescribed under the Program, can also act as an effective pain-killer. This practice has a limited MMP, and after any necessary induction at the Launceston Alcohol & Drug Service, you may be able to continue with the Program at this practice.
  6. I think that I might have a drug problem, what can I do?
    Talk to your doctor, contact the Launceston Alcohol & Drug Service on (03) 6336 5577, for more information.


  1. What is your policy to violent and/or aggressive patients?
    We have a 'Zero-tolerance' policy, on occupational health and safety grounds, to violent and aggressive patients. The police are called, and such persons are taken away. A Restraining Order could be taken out against such persons. We understand that, in a few cases, a person may be violent and/or aggressive because of a diagnosed medical condition, and we take this into account, but we cannot allow staff or other patients to be threatened in any way.
  2. Some of your links don't work or there is a technical problem with your web site, what should I do?
    Please contact WEBOS PTY LTD and let them know.
  3. Can I obtain a print copy of the contents of this web site?
    Yes. For a reasonable charge, a full-colour spiral-bound print-out ('hard copy') of the contents of this web site is available for easy reference if you do not have ready access to the internet, or if you just want a print version to hand. Please enquire at the reception desk at our Mowbray surgery.
NSMS phone number

Northern Suburbs Medical
Service (NSMS) Launceston Tasmania Australia

Student learning
Blood pressure printout
Medication pack
Tasmania Ambulance
Launceston General Hospital
Auriscope screen
Toddler in pram
Baby sleeping