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Nurse practitioners can prescribe medications for recovering opioid addicts

Nurse practitioners can prescribe medications for recovering opioid addicts

ANMF (Vic Branch) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s decision to enable nurse practitioners to prescribe ‘agents used in drug dependence’ under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos’s approval of adding ‘agents used in drug dependence’ to the medications available to nurse practitioners to prescribe was published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 22 August 2019.

Nurse practitioners were previously limited to prescribing opioids for pain relief only. Nurse practitioners will be able to prescribe buprenorphine and methadone to clients recovering from heroin addictions.

ANMF (Vic Branch) had advocated strongly on behalf of nurse practitioner members, who had contacted ANMF over their frustration with being unable to prescribe medications to clients recovering from opioid addictions.

As nurse practitioners were unable to prescribe buprenorphine and methadone, clients’ treatment was delayed while they sought a prescription from a doctor.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced at the Australian College of Nurse Practitioner’s Conference in September a consultation on the proposed general authorisation allowing Victorian nurse practitioners to supply and prescribe medicines to their full scope of practice.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has invited health services, nurse practitioners and other interested parties to respond to the consultation by Monday 16 December 2019.