Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) Suboxone® Program

About the program

The Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) Suboxone® Program is an opioid pharmacotherapy program operating in South Australia. The (MATOD) Suboxone® Program permits any medical practitioner to prescribe sublingual buprenorphine with naloxone in film form (Suboxone®) to maintain/treat opioid drug dependence, in certain circumstances.

Clients requiring treatment with methadone liquid or buprenorphine without naloxone (Subutex®) must seek treatment via the MATOD (Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence) Program.

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 Suboxone® Program

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

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

Renewal for opioid, stimulant, alprazolam and sedative

Renewal form for opioid, stimulant, alprazolam and sedative treatment (PDF 1259KB)

Prescribing under the Program

The MATOD (Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence) Suboxone Program information(PDF 76KB) outlines the requirements for prescribers wanting to prescribe or supply buprenorphine to treat opioid drug dependence. You are also encouraged to read the Suboxone® prescribing information prior to applying for an authority to commence treatment. You may also seek assistance from the specialist drug and alcohol medical practitioners by contacting the Drug & Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS).


The Buprenorphine/naloxone for opioid dependence fact sheet provides information on the drug buprenorphine with naloxone [Suboxone®], dose induction and prescribing of Suboxone® once an authority has been granted by the Drugs of Dependence Unit.

Pregnant clients

Clients who become pregnant must be immediately referred to one of the Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA) pharmacotherapy clinics for ongoing treatment. 

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/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 is available on the GP Program - Medication assisted treatment for opioid dependence page.

  • Information for pharmacists, including a checklist which provides guidance when dispensing the film
  • Information for prescribers
  • Information for consumers

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

More information

For more information, please contact the Drugs of Dependence Unit.

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 190KB) 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. 

See the fact sheet for medical practitioners and pharmacists on Assessing Stability and Safety (PDF 102KB) to assist in your assessment.

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.

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