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Free e-learning available

Our e-learning portal is now available to assist practice support and pharmacy assistant staff.  The free modules offer a background to understanding alcohol and drug use in Australia and the needs of people seeking treatment for their AOD use.  There is also a module offering strategies for responding to aggression and difficult behaviours in healthcare settings.  To access the training, simply visit the portal and register.


Information on prescribing controlled drugs, permit requirements and guidelines

The Department of Health and Human Services oversees and regulates the use of pharmacotherapies in healthcare in the state of Victoria. The Drugs and Poisons Unit advises on key requirements for health professionals on prescribing controlled drugs including Schedule 8 drugs. Licence and permit requirements for prescribing pharmacotherapies are processed via the Drugs and Poisons Unit.

Further information including policies, guidelines and contacts are provided at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Service's Pharmacotherapy page within the Drugs & Poisons Regulation in Victoria section.


State and National Policies

The following resources provide information on policy & clinical best practice guidelines -


Training in pharmacotherapy

RACGP Victoria

RACGP Victoria is contracted by the Department of Health and Human Services to offer formal accredited training for doctors and others in Opioid Replacement Therapy and safer use of opioid prescribing. This course is aligned with the national curriculum and is fully funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Pharmaceutical Society of AustraliaThe Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide the Victorian Pharmacy Pharmacotherapy Training Program.


Clinical advice on treating alcohol and drug dependent patients

Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory ServieThe Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) provides clinical advice to health professionals who have concerns about the clinical management of patients and clients with alcohol and other drug problems.

Initial enquiries are handled by professional drug and alcohol counsellors. If the enquiry is medical in nature it will be referred to a DACAS Consultant. The DACAS Consultants are experienced Addiction Medicine Specialists. DACAS consultants aim to respond to the call within one hour or as soon as possible if the matter is urgent.

DACAS can provide assistance with any drug and alcohol issue including:

  • assessment
  • medical management of withdrawal syndromes
  • substitution pharmacotherapy and other prescribing issues
  • medical and nursing management of intoxication and toxicity
  • management of medical and psychiatric complications associated with drug and alcohol use
  • drug interactions
  • pain management

DACAS can be contacted on - 1800 812 804, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


RACGP Guidelines on Drugs of Dependence

The RACGP released its' guidelines on prescribing drugs of dependence in general practice in 2015: Part A - Clinical Governance Framework and Part B - Benzodiazapines are now available.  Part C - Opioids is anticipated for release later in 2017.

The Guides include practical strategies including policies, procedures and quality measures that can be implemented to support practices in managing a range of concerns around drug-seeking and drug-dependent patients.


Telephone counselling and state-wide referral

DirectLine provides a free, anonymous and confidential counselling, information and referral service. DirectLine counsellors can provide information about the types of services and support options

available in your local community. DirectLine is available to anyone in Victoria who is affected by an alcohol or drug problem, including people using drugs, families, and health professionals.

DirectLine can be contacted on - 1800 888 236 24 hours a day, seven days a week



Trouble-shooting for pharmacotherapy consumers and health providers

PAMSPharmacotherapy Advocacy, Mediation and Support (PAMS) is a state-wide telephone service run by Harm Reduction Victoria (HRV) and funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. PAMS provides confidential telephone-based information, support, advocacy, referral and mediation for opiate pharmacotherapy consumers and their direct service providers on any pharmacotherapy client related issue in Victoria.

PAMS can be contacted on - 1800 443 844 Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm.


Regional Intake for Alcohol and Drug Services

ASCOFor phone-based referral to counselling, withdrawal or care and recovery coordination services, contact Australian Community Services Organisation (ACSO) centralised Intake number on: 1300 022 760

To contact ACSO intake services within the Orticare Region:

ACSO Ballarat hub: 305a Dana Street Ballarat 3350 ph: 03 5320 0000

ACSO Bendigo hub: 28 Pall Mall Bendigo 3550 ph: 03 5443 9734



Online Community of Practice

A shared knowledge and support community for addiction medicine practitioners, with a focus on opioid dependence.  Login to access member-only resources, education events, forums and more.  Membership is free.