Prescribing Controlled Drugs in Addiction Treatment

Published online: 
14 May 2013
Prescribing Controlled Drugs in Addiction Treatment cover

Summary

Updated December 2013

Section 24 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (MODA) governs the prescription of controlled drugs for the treatment of addiction. The Minister of Health has the power to specify which medical practitioners and services can prescribe controlled drugs for the treatment of addiction. The Ministry of Health (the Ministry) regulates opioid substitution treatment providers under section 24 of the MODA, gazetting both a medical practitioner (as the lead clinician) and the specialist service. The lead clinician has the ability to authorise medical practitioners, either within the specified service or in primary health care, to prescribe controlled drugs for addiction treatment.

This document provides guidance to help addiction treatment services comply with section 24 of the MODA. Section 24 applies when a medical practitioner prescribes a controlled drug as a treatment for a person’s addiction to that or any other controlled drug.

This document explains the Ministry’s processes and policies for approving opioid substitution treatment providers under section 24 of the MODA. The Minister of Health can issue a New Zealand Gazette notice under section 24(7) specifying:

  • a medical practitioner (lead clinician) (s 24(7)(a))
  • a service, by listing the clinics and other places that constitute that service (s 24(7)(b)).

Completed applications for the role of lead clinician and opioid substitution treatment provider can be emailed to mentalhealth@moh.govt.nz or posted to:

Director of Mental Health
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013
Wellington.

Section 24 of the MODA envisages that a suitable medical practitioner (lead clinician) will take clinical leadership of addiction treatment with controlled drugs. This practitioner is specified in a New Zealand Gazette notice and is granted the power to approve other medical practitioners to prescribe controlled drugs for addiction treatment, with such other practitioners being either:

  • specialist service/clinic practitioners (s 24(2)(b))
  • general practitioners receiving clients from an OST service (s 24(2)(d)).

All authorities (s 24(2)(b)) and (s 24(2)(d)) must be sent via courier or standard post to:  

Medicines Control
Provider Regulation
Clinical Leadership, Protection and Regulation
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013
Lambton Quay
Wellington 6145

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    14 May 2013
  • ISBN:
    978-0-478-40266-7 (online)
  • HP number:
    5650
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. 2013. Prescribing Controlled Drugs in Addiction Treatment: Section 24 Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:

    Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

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