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Legal matters

There are a range of laws and regulations that deal with various legal aspects of health care, including the practices of health professionals and the rights of patients. Laws also apply to the manufacture and use of certain medicines and drugs.

In this section, we explain a number of legal aspects that may be important to know about for your own health care or for someone you care for.

Advance Care Directive

It is important for all adults to understand the benefits of early planning. Various legal tools are available to help secure future health, financial, legal and personal choices. 

The Advance Care Directive allows you to write down your wishes, preferences and instructions for your future health care, end of life, living arrangements and personal matters; and/or appoint one or more Substitute Decision-Makers to make these decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to make them for yourself.

Alcohol Laws

In Australia, alcohol is a legal drug. However, laws restricting its manufacture, supply, sale, promotion and consumption do apply. If you break these laws, you are likely to have legal action taken against you. Find information about:

  • Drink driving laws
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
  • Sale and consumption of alcohol
  • Production of alcohol
  • Laws related to places of alcohol consumption

HIV and Hepatitis disclosure

There are only a few situations where you are legally required to disclose your HIV or Hepatitis status. The HIV and Hepatitis disclosure page covers some of the issues about sex and health situations, and other situations where the need for disclosure may arise (for example employment and insurance). 

Illicit drug laws

It is illegal to keep or use certain drugs unless they have been prescribed for you by a doctor for a recognised medical condition. It is also illegal to make, keep, use, sell or give away certain drugs. Illicit drug laws covered in this section include:

  • Amphetamines and the law
  • Cannabis and the law
  • Cocaine and the law
  • Drug driving
  • Ecstasy and the law
  • Hallucinogens and the law
  • Heroin and the law
  • Steroids and the law
  • Volatile substances and the law

Mental health statement of rights

Mental health statement of rights provides information about mental health treatment orders, your mental health care, and summarises your rights and responsibilities as a consumer of mental health services.

The statement of rights brochures per treatment order are available for download in 15 languages other than English.

Schedule 8 medicine treatment

The use of schedule 8 medicines in South Australia is regulated to help ensure that treatment remains available to those that need it while trying to minimise the risk for misuse, diversion and the development of dependence.

If you are being treated with schedule 8 medicines, you need to be aware of the law and your responsibilities such as correct storage and disposal.

When you have a notifiable health condition

There are a number of infectious or communicable diseases that your doctor must tell SA Health about by law. These infectious or communicable diseases are called 'notifiable conditions'.

Find out what information is collected about people with a notifiable condition and how that information is used.

Your rights and responsibilities

Information about how you can participate in decision-making about your health care and your responsibilities as a consumer of our public health services.

The Your Rights and Responsibilities booklet is available for download in 15 languages other than English.


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