Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) Program

About the program

The Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) Program is the name of the opioid pharmacotherapy program operating in South Australia. The Program allows accredited and trained medical or nurse practitioners to prescribe methadone liquid or sublingual buprenorphine (with or without naloxone) to maintain/treat opioid drug dependence. MATOD is delivered through public providers such as Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA), community prescribers (mostly general practitioners), and forensic prescribers.

An authority under South Australian controlled substances legislation is required prior to prescribing or supplying a drug of dependence to a drug dependent person.


The following outlines the requirements for prescribers and other health professionals.  The policies referred to throughout this page form part of the authority conditions and must be adhered to unless conditions have been specifically amended by the Drugs of Dependence Unit (DDU).


Application for an Authority

Prior to prescribing please complete the MATOD Authority Application (PDF 2.2MB).

Please fax your completed application form to the DDU and telephone for the authority number.

Renewal/Termination for MATOD Program

The Application form is also used for renewal and termination of the MATOD Program. 

When treatment concludes, irrespective of the reason, please complete and return the MATOD Authority Application (PDF 2.2MB) to the DDU.

Prescriber training and accreditation

To offer opioid pharmacotherapy through the Program you must have completed the required training and received accreditation. Please contact the GP Program Project Officer for further information.

An alternative way of providing your clients opioid pharmacotherapy is through the MATOD Suboxone® Program, where training and accreditation is not required in some circumstances.

If necessary, you can also refer clients to DASSA for assessment.

Important safety message

Due to risks of overdose and death associated with methadone and buprenorphine, it is important to appropriately counsel clients regarding the safe and secure storage of any unsupervised doses prescribed. The methadone and buprenorphine not for kid's brochure (PDF 185KB) helps outline how to safely store medication and should be provided to any opioid pharmacotherapy clients.

Information on the Suboxone® film product

Information is available on Suboxone® film product for the following on the DASSA website:

  • pharmacists
  • prescribers
  • consumers

Pharmacists may also wish to review the Methadone and buprenorphine Guidelines for Pharmacists in South Australia (PDF 1.06MB)

Issuing prescriptions for dispensing interstate

Not sure if you can dispense an interstate prescription or how South Australian prescriptions will be handed interstate, see the Dispensing of interstate prescriptions page.

Information includes providing short term treatment in other States and Territories for South Australian clients on holidays or with short-term work commitments.

Drugs of Dependence Unit

For more information, please contact Drugs of Dependence Unit (DDU).

Policies and guidelines


A wide range of national guidelines are available on the National Drug Strategy website

South Australia

Unsupervised or “take-away” doses

The MATOD unsupervised dosing policy (PDF 91KB) outlines the dosing requirements for opioids prescribed under pharmacotherapy programs (both the MATOD and MATOD Suboxone® Program). The Policy applies to all clients from initiation to continuous treatment exceeding 18 months.

Prescribers may apply to the Drugs of Dependence Unit in writing for additional unsupervised doses where clients demonstrate stability and improvement in function. Please allow two business weeks for us to get back to you with a decision. MATOD - additional TA application (PDF 171KB). See the fact sheet for medical practitioners and pharmacists on Assessing Stability and Safety (PDF 102KB) to assist in your assessment.

In some circumstances, long-term stable clients may be entitled to receive up to six unsupervised doses per week. The application process and requirements are outlined in the MATOD - one supervised dose per week policy (PDF 216KB).

Serious breaches of opioid pharmacotherapy programs

The MATOD Serious Breaches Guideline (PDF 205KB) outlines recommended action to be taken in response to program breaches such as drug diversion, prescription forgery. The MATOD incident report (PDF 130KB) should be forwarded to the Drugs of Dependence Unit.

Use of buprenorphine in the MATOD Program

The Policy for the use of Buprenorphine (PDF 277KB) outlines the policy for the use of buprenorphine with naloxone [Suboxone®] and buprenorphine without naloxone [Subutex®]

Split dosing of methadone in the MATOD Program

The MATOD - split dosing methadone policy (PDF 135KB) outlines the application process and requirements for where it is clinically appropriate for clients to receive split dosing of methadone.

Prescribers may apply for approval to provide split doses of methadone using the MATOD - split dosing methadone application (PDF 173KB).

Guidelines for Locums acting for Accredited MATOD Prescribers

The MATOD Locum Policy (PDF 153KB) provides guidance to prescribers working in the same rooms as a MATOD prescriber regarding providing locum services to MATOD clients.


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