Talk:Australian Drug Scheduling

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Australia has many different schedules for categorizing drugs in terms of safety, abuse rate and dependence. These exist so that the state/territory governments can control who has access to what drugs, when they can access them and how they are packaged as to inform people.

All states/territories of Australia have their own regulations but because they are usually always classified against the Poisons Standard Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons), they are all the same except for very rare occasions[1]. The current version of the Poisons Standard is October 2019[2].



Some substances are unscheduled, these medications are usually considered extremely essential and safe

Some examples of unscheduled substances include:

  • Paracetamol, 500mg or less & in packs of 24 or less
  • Ephenidrine
  • Antacids
  • Hydroxymorphian
  • Laxatives
  • Eye drops
  • Nicotine replacement substances, although some of these fall under Schedule 2

Schedule 1

There are no drugs listed under Schedule 1

Schedule 2

Schedule 2 drugs are Pharmacy Medicines and are substances that are-

  • Available primarily in pharmacies
  • Safe to use but guidance is available
  • Are for minor sicknesses/symptoms that can be-
    • easily recognized by the consumer
    • do not require diagnosis

Examples of Schedule 2 drugs include:[3]

  • Dextromethorphan, commonly used in cough medicine as a suppressant
  • Common analgesics such as Aspirin, Paracetamol, and Ibuprofen in packs of more than 24 tablets (packs containing less than 24 are unscheduled and can be sold anywhere)
  • Hyoscine, used to treat vomiting, nausea and motion sickness
  • Nasal sprays that contain decongestants and steroids

Schedule 3

Schedule 3 drugs are Pharmacy Only Medicines and are substances that are-

  • Available only in pharmacies
  • Safe to use but require professional advice
  • Sicknesses/symptoms that can be identified by the customer but should be verified by the pharmacist
  • Don't require a medical diagnosis

Examples of Schedule 3 drugs include:[4]

  • Pseudoephidrine, used in cold and flu medications and for the manufacture of Amphetamines such as Methamphetamine[5]
  • Orlistat (Xenical), drug used for treating obesity
  • Salbutamol (Ventolin), drug commonly used for treating asthma

Schedule 4

Schedule 4 drugs are Prescription Only Medicines and are substances that-

  • Are new substances and/or require further evaluation
  • Are for sicknesses/symptoms that-
    • require professional control and monitoring
    • require professional diagnosis

The Australian Government can subsidize the price of Schedule 4 Drugs through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) if the customer qualifies. Schedule 4 drugs can not be advertised to the general public.

Examples of Schedule 4 drugs include:[6]

  • Cannabidol, for therapeutic use containing 2 percent or less of other cannabinoids found in cannabis[7]
  • Codeine, when mixed with other medicines
  • Ephidrine
  • Fluticasone
  • Isotretinoin
  • Methoxyflurane
  • Pseudoephidrine, in large doses
  • Anti-psychotics

Schedule 5

Schedule 5 substances are listed as Caution and are identified as:

  • having a low toxicity or concentration
  • having a low to moderate hazard
  • may cause minor adverse effects to the user under normal use
  • require caution when handling, storing or using

Schedule 5 substances must have the right packaging and warning labels to show any of the above points[8]

Majority of Schedule 5 substances are chemicals that can be dangerous when using or if consumed, examples include:[9]

  • Acetone
  • Aspirin, for treatment of animals
  • Boric Acid and Borax, except for when included in Schedule 4
  • Methanol
  • Methylated Spirits

Schedule 6

Schedule 6 substances are listed as Poison and are identified as:

  • having moderate to high toxicity
  • may cause serious injury or death if taken, inhaled or made contact with skin/eyes

Schedule 6 substances must have very distinctive packaging indicating very strong warnings, the packaging must also include safety instructions[10]

Examples of substances listed under Schedule 6 include:[11]

  • Acetic Acid
  • Alkaline Salts
  • Hydrochloric Acid, in preparations containing more than 0.5% hydrochloric acid

Schedule 7

Schedule 7 drugs are Dangerous Drugs and are substances that-

  • have high potential for harm at low exposure
  • require precautions for manufacturing, handing or using; or
  • only available to specialized and/or authorized people with appropriate skills

Special regulations may apply regarding their availability, possession, storage or use

Examples of Schedule 7 drugs include:[12]

  • Bromine
  • Chlorine, excluding its salts/derivatives
  • Cyanides
  • Nicotine, except when in tobacco prepared for smoking

Schedule 8

Schedule 8 drugs are Controlled Drugs and are substances and preparations which are designed for human use that have a very high potential for abuse/addiction. It is a criminal offense to possess these drugs without authority

Much like Schedule 4 drugs, the price of Schedule 8 drugs can subsidized through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

In order for a doctor to prescribe a Schedule 8 drug, they need a S8 permit in their state/territory of practice.

Examples of Schedule 8 drugs include:[13]

Schedule 9

Schedule 9 drugs are Prohibited Substances and must only be used for research purposes. Selling, distributing, manufacturing and using of drugs listed under Schedule 9 is strictly prohibited.

Examples of Schedule 9 drugs include:[16]

  • TGA Scheduling final descision on Phenibut