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Information about OMT (methadone & suboxone) dosing in Canberra.


A message from Building 7 and the Canberra Health Service

Firstly, we want to reassure our community that Canberra Health Services (CHS) recognise that opioid pharmacotherapy treatment (methadone and Bupe/Suboxone) is an important issue. The Alcohol & Drug Service's priority is to maintain services to their customers. Patients on the pharmacotherapy program are recognised by Canberra Health Services as priority one patients. Everything possible will be done to keep dosing points open. Arrangements are being made to allow patients to dose at the hospital (or, possibly, other places) if their local pharmacy closes due to illness.

Information about dosing for people in Canberra not in self-isolation or quarantine.

A link to a PDF about dosing procedures for most people.

The OMT Dosing service on the Northside, in Belconnen (NOTS) is currently closed.
NOTS will re-open when conditions normalise.

Tips to make dosing safer during COVID-19

Doctor Tips

Methadone & Suboxone scripts CAN be written for 2-3 months at a time. This means you wonít have to go to the doctor for a longer period of time, which means less mixing with others and reducing the risk to everyone.

Ask your prescriber to give you as many take-away doses, (TADs) as they can. More take-aways mean less visits to the pharmacy, less mixing with other people, & a reduced need to leave your house. If your prescriber is happy to give you more than 4 TADs p/w (methadone) or more than 6 TADs p/w (Suboxone) please make sure your prescriber tells your dosing pharmacy so you don't have problems picking them up.

Make sure your prescription is up-to-date. If you have an appointment coming up with your doctor, PLEASE DO NOT MISS IT.

* If you are feeling unwell or are in self-isolation, call your medical clinic BEFORE going and follow their advice.

* Prescribers are in VERY high demand and it is hard to get another appointment.

Get a script for naloxone. Having Naloxone is even more important when we are isolating ourselves so much.
Ask your doctor for a script for Naloxone.
If you are aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander, ask them to write Closing The Gap (or CTG) so you can get a free script.
Otherwise, CAHMA can help pay for it if you can't.

CAHMA can also provide you with Naloxone if you need some. Call 62 533 643 .

Many doctors surgeries are moving to telehealth. This means that they can ring you for your appointment so that you do not have to leave home. If you do not have a phone, ensure that you organise in advance to use a family member/friendís phone and ring the doctor in advance to ensure they have the correct number.

Pharmacy Tips

Try your best not to miss doses.

If your prescriber is not available, it will be VERY hard to find another one, especially in time to prevent opioid withdrawal symptoms.

ASK your doctor/pharmacy what the plan is if they are forced to CLOSE.

Information for people in Canberra who are in isolation or quarantine

A link to a PDF about dosing for people in isolation or quarantine.

A link to a PDF for Agents picking up your dose for you.

A link to a PDF explaining OMT dosing procedures while in isolation or quarantine.

If you have to go into isolation it is important that you still receive your daily dose without breaking your isolation. There are strategies in place to ensure that you can remain in isolation and still access your methadone/Subutex/Suboxone. Make sure that you contact your doctor and pharmacist/clinic immediately to allow them time to make arrangements. You should not go back and dose as normal if you are in isolation so it is important to move quickly to secure your medication.

Contact your Doctor.
Firstly call your doctor and let them know that you are in isolation. Make sure you let the receptionist know that you must contact your doctor urgently to arrange your pharmacotherapy as you must go into isolation immediately. If you cannot gain access to your doctor ring your pharmacy/clinic and ask them to call through to your doctor for you. Your doctor will be receiving advice on what is possible to ensure you keep receiving your medication. It is up to the doctorís discretion as to what they think is most appropriate for your situation. Doctors can prescribe extra takeaway doses for you so you donít have to break isolation to dose. The doctor will also talk to your pharmacist or clinic to arrange for you to collect your doses.

An Agent can collect your doses
If you cannot find someone to act as your agent, call CAHMA and we will arrange one.

If you are in isolation you can assign an ďagentĒ to collect your dose/s. An agent is a family member or friend who you trust who signs a form that lets them pick up your dose/s from the pharmacy and deliver it to you. Official Information and forms are linked above and CAHMA will update them if they change.

Delivery by Directions Health Professionals
If you are in isolation and cannot use an agent, Directions is making arrangements to have a service where a 2 person team of healthcare professionals delivers your dose/s to your house/unit. This option is still being progressed so stay tuned and more information on this option will follow.

More definite information is being prepared for you and will be available in the next few days. Please check back here and we will post information and links as they become available. Please read the PDF's linked above to double-check your understanding of what you have read here.

If you need to isolate NOW please ring CAHMA (02) 6253 3643 and we can facilitate this for you.


This page has been designed to provide information about methadone or suboxone dosing in Canberra and the ACT.
This information may change throughout the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We will update this page as soon as new information comes to hand.

There is a newsletter from the Canberra Health Services, discussing other changes to the hospital system, HERE.

or Here as a word doc.

This is a notice from Canberra Health Services about some changes to services. These changes DO NOT apply to Building 7 methadone & buprenorphine dosing or scripting....

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We've put together a list of services which our clients may need to access. It shows opening times, etc. and indicates which services will be remaining open and how they will operate.

For any clients wishing to know about eligibility for the Medicare Benefits Schedule (Bulk Billing) for telephone consultations, there is a link to the relevant document Here. (as a pdf)
or Here as a word doc.

Interpretations of the requirements for satisfying this criteria may differ between practices but our advice is that you should be eligible if you are on an opioid substitution therapy (methadone, bupe, suboxone) as drug dependence should count as a chronic condition.

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Some harm reduction advice for people who use drugs, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic...


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