Q.     Who can lawfully be in possession of Schedule 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 poisons included in the Poisons Standard (scheduled substances) in Victoria?
         Who can lawfully supply scheduled substances from Victoria?

A.     Following are the types of organisations and people that can be in the lawful possession of scheduled substances in Victoria and the organisations or authorised health practitioners that can lawfully supply them in Victoria,  categorised by the different schedules of substances.

The organisations and health practitioners are authorised under Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances legislation to possess and supply the scheduled substances. Health practitioners, including pharmacists are registered by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (Ahpra); veterinary practitioners are registered by the Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria.

Pharmacies in Victoria are registered by the Victorian Pharmacy Authority.

Not all health practitioners are legally able to issue prescriptions and/or supply medicines.

Schedule 2 and Schedule 3

  • What are Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 substances?

    Schedule 2 substances are those that are available for a pharmacy customer to self-select from the shelf in a pharmacy. The customer does not necessarily need to ask a pharmacy staff member to select the product. The pharmacist is available to provide advice if needed.

    A health practitioner may also provide a Schedule 2 substance to their patient.

    The top of the label includes the words "PHARMACY MEDICINE"

    Schedule 3 substances are those that are available over-the-counter to a pharmacy customer if the customer consults first with the pharmacist. Schedule 3 substances are not available for self-selection by customers. 

    A health practitioner may also provide a Schedule 3 substance to their patient.

    The top of the label includes the words "PHARMACIST ONLY MEDICINE"

  • Who can be in lawful possession, but CANNOT lawfully supply Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 substances?
    • Any person that has obtained the product by retail from a pharmacy;
    • Any person who has obtained the product from a medical practitioner, dentist, veterinary practitioner, nurse practitioner, nurse, midwife, optometrist or podiatrist who is authorised to give it to them, with a label that identifies the practitioner;
    • Any person/organisation holding a Victorian permit to possess or purchase the item.
       
     
  • Who can lawfully be in possession and can lawfully supply Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 substances?
    • Any organisation holding a Victorian licence to supply the product to customers who are legally able to receive them;
    • A pharmacist working in a pharmacy;
    • A medical practitioner, dentist, nurse practitioner, nurse, midwife, optometrist or podiatrist may supply the product to an individual patient under their care in the lawful practice of their profession;
    • A veterinary practitioner may supply the product to the owner or carer of an individual animal under their care in the lawful practice of their profession.
       

Schedule 4 and Schedule 8

  • What are Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 substances?
    Schedule 4 substances are those that are provided to an individual patient on a prescription from a health practitioner, such as a medical practitioner, dentist and  nurse practitioner or a midwife, optometrist or podiatrist who is legally able to issue a prescription.
     
    Veterinary practitioners may issue prescriptions for Schedule 4 substances for animals under their care.
     
    When a product is being supplied to a patient, the top of the label includes the words "PRESCRIPTION ONLY MEDICINE"
     
    Schedule 8 substances are those that are at high risk of abuse, misuse and physical or psychological dependence. They require tight controls on manufacture, supply, distribution, possession and use. They are only available to a patient on a prescription from a health practitioner, such as a medical practitioner, dentist and nurse practitioner or a midwife who is legally able to issue prescriptions for Schedule 8 substances.
    Veterinary practitioners may issue prescriptions for Schedule 8 substances for animals under their care.
    When a product is being supplied to a patient, the top of the label includes the words "CONTROLLED DRUG"
  • Who can be in lawful possession, but CANNOT lawfully supply Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 substances? (See Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this answer below).
  • Part 1. Persons or organisations commonly in lawful possession.
    • Any person who presents a prescription issued by a medical practitioner, dentist, nurse practitioner or midwife to a pharmacist and the pharmacist has supplied and labelled the substance with the patient’s name that is on the prescription;
    • Any carer (including a personal care assistant) of an above-mentioned person;
    • Any owner/person having the custody or care of an animal that has been supplied the product (labelled with the owner and the animal's names) by a veterinary practitioner;
    • Owners or persons having custody or care of animals (such as livestock) may lawfully possess a Schedule 4 substance mixed in stockfeed, when that stockfeed was supplied by the wholesaler in accordance with an order from  a registered veterinary practitioner (Regulation 7(1)(10));
    • Any person/organisation holding a Victorian licence to supply a Schedule 8 substance or a permit to be in possession of a Schedule 8 substance. A published list of current licence/permit holders (updated monthly) is available via the following link (which will take you to a web-page containing another link that can be used to download the list): https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/licences-and-permits-industry-and-health/licence-and-permit-holders
    • Certain health practitioners (including some nurses, midwives and pharmacists are legally able to possess specific Schedule 4 substances and administer them in the absence of an instruction from a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner. For more information see the pages on Secretary Approvals: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/drugs-poisons-legislation/secretary-approvals
  • Part 2. Some health practitioners that are currently registered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
    • Podiatrists that do not have a scheduled medicines endorsement on their registration. Any podiatrist may lawfully possess products containing 2% or less of either lignocaine or prilocaine (Regulation 7(1)(16) of the DPCS Regulations and the Secretary Approval for podiatrists).
    • Optometrists that do not have a scheduled medicines endorsement on their registration. Any optometrist may lawfully possess eye preparations containing tropicamide, cyclopentolate, pilocarpine, physostigmine or synthetic cocaine (Regulation 7(1)(15) of the DPCS Regulations and the Secretary Approval for optometrists).
    • Dental hygienists, dental therapists or oral health therapists may lawfully possess the following for dental care: adrenaline, articaine, felypressin, lignocaine, mepivacaine, prilocaine, therapeutic mercury or demeclocycline and triamcinolone (in combination for topical use) (Regulation 7(1)(21) of the DPCS Regulations and the Secretary Approval for these health practitioners).
       
  • Part 3. Other types of persons or organisations.
    • Masters or chief officers of ships in port in Victoria may lawfully possess those Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 substances that are required by State, Commonwealth or international law to complete the equipment of that ship (Regulation 7(1)(13) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • Yacht owners or crew members who are members of Australian Sailing Limited and whose yachts are entered in races conducted under the rules of Australian Sailing Limited may lawfully possess those Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 substances contained in the medical kit for the Australian Sailing Limited race category in which the yacht is entered (Regulation 7(1)(14) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • Ski Patrollers that hold a qualification certificate from the Australian Ski Patrol Association to be a ski patroller may lawfully possess methoxyflurane or nitrous oxide (Regulation 7(1)(18) of the DPCS Regulations and the Secretary Approval for Ski Patrollers).
    • A director within the Victoria State Emergency Services Act 2005 may lawfully possess Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 substances that are required in the performance of state emergency services’ duties in an emergency coming within their jurisdiction (Regulation 7(1)(19) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • Municipal councils or a nurse appointed by a municipal council carrying out an immunisation program, may lawfully possess vaccines (Regulation 7(1)(20) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • A dental assistant employed or engaged by a declared public dental service may lawfully possess and administer Schedule 4 substances (fluoride varnish) in accordance with a Secretary Approval (Regulation 7(1)(21A) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • An orthoptist acting under the direction of a registered medical practitioner or authorised optometrist may lawfully possess and administer topical ophthalmic preparations into the eyes (Regulation 7(1)(22) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • On-site emergency response workers trained in Advanced First Aid at mine sites and power stations may possess and administer Schedule 4 substances in an emergency in accordance with a Secretary Approval (Regulation 7(1)(23) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • A person employed or engaged (on a paid basis) by the holder of a non-emergency patient transport service licence may possess and administer Schedule 4 substances listed in the health services permit to provide medical care (Regulation 7(1)(24) of the DPCS Regulations).
    • A person employed or engaged as a lifeguard (on a paid or unpaid basis) by Life Saving Victoria may possess and administer a Schedule 4 substance (methoxyflurane) in an emergency in accordance with a Secretary Approval (Regulation 7(1)(25) of the DPCS Regulations).
  • Who can lawfully be in possession and can lawfully supply Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 substances? (See Parts 1 and 2 of this answer below)
  • Part 1. Any organisation holding a Victorian licence to possess and supply the product to authorised customers.

    A published list of current licence/permit holders (which is updated monthly) is available via the following link (which will take you to a web-page containing another link that can be used to download the list): https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/drugs-poisons-licences-and-permits/licence-and-permit-holders

     

     

     
  • Part 2. Some registered health practitioners.
    • A registered medical practitioner may lawfully possess and supply any Schedule 4 or 8 substance in the lawful practice of his/her profession;
    • A registered pharmacist working in a registered pharmacy may lawfully possess and supply any Schedule 4 or 8 substance in the lawful practice of his/her profession;
    • A registered dentist may lawfully possess and supply any Schedule 4 or 8 substance in the lawful practice of his/her profession (except methadone);
    • A registered veterinary practitioner may lawfully possess and supply any Schedule 4 or 8 substance in the lawful practice of his/her profession;
    • A registered nurse practitioner may lawfully possess and supply any Schedule 4 or 8 substance in the lawful practice of his/her profession.  
    • Endorsed midwives. Schedule 2, 3, 4 and 8 substances that endorsed midwives may lawfully possess and supply are available via the following link for authorised registered midwives: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/drugs-poisons-legislation/minister-approved-prescriber-list 
    • Endorsed podiatrists. Schedule 2, 3 and 4 substances that endorsed podiatrists may lawfully possess and supply are available on a web-page, under the section entitled "Authorised podiatrists" via the following link: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/drugs-poisons-legislation/minister-approved-prescriber-list 
    • Endorsed optometrists. Schedule 2, 3 and 4 substances that endorsed optometrists may lawfully possess and supply are preparations that may be applied directly to the eye: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/drugs-poisons-legislation/minister-approved-prescriber-list 
    • Nurses with a rural and isolated practice endorsement working within approved rural health services may possess, administer or supply any Schedule 2, 3, 4 or 8 substance in accordance with the clinical circumstances included in the 10th Edition of the Queensland Health Primary Clinical Care Manual, as outlined in the Victorian Government Gazette of 7 November 2019.
    • Some Schedule 4 substances may only be used for treatment under a warrant (Chapter 2 Part 16 of the DPCS Regulations). Warrants are only issued to medical practitioners. Warrant holders may enable other medical practitioners or nurse practitioners to treat patients under the warrant holder’s instructions. Schedule 4 substances requiring a warrant are listed in the Victorian Poisons Code.
     

Schedule 5 and Schedule 6.                                                  

  • What are Schedule 5 or Schedule 6 substances?

    Schedule 5 and 6 substances are chemicals found in products that can potentially be used by an everyday person (may include cosmetic, domestic and home garden products and some agricultural chemicals).

    The top of a Schedule 5 product label includes the word "CAUTION"

    The top of a Schedule 6 product label includes the word "POISON"

    Any organisation is able to lawfully possess or supply Schedule 5 or Schedule 6 substances.

    Storage requirements apply to Schedule 6 substances.

Schedule 7 substances that CANNOT be sold by retail

Schedule 7 substances that CAN be sold by retail

  • What are Schedule 7 substances that CAN be sold by retail?

    Schedule 7 substances that can be sold by retail (i.e. non listed-regulated Schedule 7 substances) are chemicals available to users who have the skills necessary to handle them safely. Schedule 7 substances are generally not for use in a domestic setting. Many Schedule 7 substances are agricultural chemicals. Agricultural users are required to hold a permit from Agriculture Victoria in order to use Schedule 7 chemicals.

    The top of their label should include the words "DANGEROUS POISON".

     
  • Who can be in lawful possession, but CANNOT lawfully supply Schedule 7 substances that CAN be sold by retail?

    Any organisation or person aged 18 years or over is able to lawfully possess a non-listed-regulated Schedule 7 substance under Drugs and Poisons legislation; however they may have to undergo training in chemical use and hold:

    • an Agricultural Chemical User Permit (ACUP) issued by Agriculture Victoria (different to a DHHS poisons permit) to use Schedule 7 substances registered for use in Australia.
    • A Worksafe Licence (different to a DHHS poisons licence) to use many Schedule 7 substances.
     
  • Who can lawfully possess and lawfully supply Schedule 7 substances by RETAIL?
    • Any retailer is able to lawfully supply a non-listed-regulated Schedule 7 substance under Drugs and Poisons legislation; however bear in mind that customers must be aged 18  or over, and it may be necessary for customers to hold an ACUP permit (as indicated above).  Retail suppliers must make a record of the supply. Schedule 7 substances must be under supervision in the retail outlet.
       
     
  • Who can lawfully possess and lawfully supply by Schedule 7 substances by WHOLESALE?
    • Any organisation holding a Victorian licence to possess and supply the substance by wholesale to authorised customers that hold a Victorian licence or permit.
     
Schedule 8: See above (with Schedule 4)

Schedule 9

  • What are Schedule 9 substances?
    Schedule 9 substances have a very high risk of abuse and mis-use.  They are generally not available for use by individual consumers.
    Manufacture, possession, sale and use of Schedule 9 substances is prohibited by law except when required for legitimate medical or scientific research, or for legitimate analytical, teaching or training purposes.
    They are classed as "PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES" in the Poisons Standard.
     
  • Who can be in lawful possession of but cannot lawfully supply a Schedule 9 substance?
    • Any person/organisation holding a Victorian permit to be in possession of the item for industrial, educational, advisory or research purpose or for the provision of health services. A published list of current licence/permit holders (updated monthly) is available via the following link (which will take you to a web-page containing another link that can be used to download the list): https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/licences-and-permits-industry-and-health/licence-and-permit-holders
    • Any person that has been supplied the product (that has been labelled with the person's name) by a pharmacist or a registered medical practitioner, veterinary practitioner or dentist who holds a general Schedule 9 permit. It is rare for a person to require treatment with a Schedule 9 substance.
  • Who can lawfully possess and supply a Schedule 9 substance?
    • Any organisation holding a Victorian licence to possess and supply the product to authorised customers. 
    • A medical practitioner, veterinary practitioner, dentist or pharmacist who has applied for and been issued with a general Schedule 9 permit under Regulation 14.
    • A medical practitioner who intends to administer, prescribe or supply a Schedule 9 substance to a patient and holds a Schedule 9 treatment permit issued under the Act. The practitioner may supply the product to an individual patient under their care in the lawful practice of their profession.
    • It is rare for a patient to require treatment with a Schedule 9 substance.