Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (Pharmacotherapy)

GP Training Program For Opioid Dependence


This program is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria. 


In Victoria, Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD), also known as Opioid Replacement Therapy, Opioid Substitution Therapy or pharmacotherapy, is a predominantly community-based program allowing clients to receive Opioid Replacement Therapy (ORT) in normalised health settings, spread over a network of locations and facilitates.

Community prescribing has demonstrated considerable health benefits and reductions in the economic and social costs related to illicit drug use. 

A recent survey identified that over 14,000 clients a day access the program in Victoria.  

Since February 2013 all GPs are able to prescribe buprenorphine for up to five patients without undergoing formal training.  As at May 2015 a total of 121 GPs are prescribing under this provision. 

To prescribe methadone or to prescribe buprenorphine to more than five patients, GPs must be authorised in the treatment of opioid dependent persons.  A prerequisite to ORT authorisation is the successful completion of the GP Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence Training Program.  See below for upcoming dates.


The aim of the training program is to increase the number of GP prescribers with an emphasis on areas of need.

A Clinical Advisory Group (CAG) provides direction and guidance on all aspects of program development and delivery.

  • Training is delivered by experienced GP educators and Addiction Medicine Specialists.
  • Training consists of:
    • Module 1 - Safer Opioid Prescribing in General Practice; online or face to face workshop and
    • Module 2 - Prescribing Buprenorphine and Methadone; interactive skills based full day workshop.


This is no charge to any of the training provided.  In addition to core funding provided by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, the Pharmacotherapy Area Networks, Primary Health Networks and Indivior Pharmaceuticals have funded the provision of additional training events.  This has allowed health professionals from both regional and rural areas access to geographically convenient education events.

Networking Health Victoria has also initiated joint training events with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.between GPs and Pharmacists. 

A number of training events will be held throughout Victoria during 2016.


This 2 hour workshop can be completed either online or via face to face dinner meetings held regularly throughout Victoria.

Complete the two hour online module CLICK HERE.  A Certificate will be available for printing on completion.

Attend a face-to-face dinner meeting.  P
lease register your interest in upcoming dates by emailing Toni Lamarche.


Attend a full day workshop.  Please register your interest in upcoming dates by emailing Toni Lamarche.


In 2014, five area-based pharmacotherapy networks were established throughout the state to ensure a more local approach in connecting care, driving best practice and improving pharmacotherapy client outcomes. 

Service Objectives
Each of the five Networks in the state will contribute to assisting pharmacotherapy providers implement a more integrated and cohesive service that will be focused on improving client outcomes.  The Networks will: 

  • develop a strategic approach to addressing need in the Area 
  • identify and analyse gaps in service provision in their Area and provide local solutions 
  • work with other services in the Area (such as hospitals, health services, Specialist Pharmacotherapy Services, general practitioners, pharmacists, other AOD services) to form partnerships to facilitate an integrated assessment, treatment referral pathways, intervention, ongoing support and wrap around support and mentoring to providers 
  • provide and distribute advice regarding best-practice and emerging issues relating to pharmacotherapy 
  • attract and retain pharmacotherapy providers to the Area to relieve pressure to existing services 
  • facilitate access to ongoing training for pharmacotherapy providers 
  • provide access for complex clients to Addiction Medicine Specialists. 

See DHHS fact sheet.


Barwon and Great South Coast Area Network:
Aneill Kamath (Warrnambool)
Penelope Wood (Geelong)

Gippsland / Hume Area Network: 
Elizabeth Plunkett  (Gippsland)
Tim Griffiths (Hume)

Grampians Area Network:
Jackie Keevins ( Bendigo) 
Ross Anders  (Horsham)

Inner North and West Melbourne Area Network: 
Andrea Calleja     

South Eastern Melbourne Area Network:
Bernadette Lane – Network Coordinator
Jana Dostal – (Eastern)
Vignesh Lingam (Frankston, Mornington Peninsula) 


Online video resources:

Other resources:


For further information in relation to pharmacotherapy training programs please contact
Maureen Chesler, Department of Health and Human Services
P: 03 9096 5057