Pharmacotherapy Advocacy Mediation Support


1800 443 844

PAMS is a state-wide telephone service run by Harm Reduction Victoria (HRVic) and funded mainly by the Victorian Department of Health. 

We provide telephone-based information, support, advocacy, referral and mediation for opiate pharmacotherapy consumers and their direct service providers on any pharmacotherapy client related issue in Victoria. 


PAMS is a confidential service – we do not discuss a client with any other party without their consent.

(As we are primarily a telephone service, consent is in most cases provided verbally.)



when used with regard to substance use

refers to the replacement of a person’s drug of dependence

with a legally prescribed

and dispensed substitute.

The information provided here is for people whose opioid dependency

has become problematic or unmanageable.

The most commonly used opioids in Australia today are prescription formulations (codeine, oxycontin, morphine, fentanyl,etc), illicit opioids such as heroin, and the pharmacotherapy medications methadone and buprenorphine.

ALL have the potential to produce dependence. 

Pharmacotherapy for opioid users is sometimes referred to as Opioid Replacement Therapy/Treatment (ORT), Opioid Pharmacotherapy Program (OPP), or Opioid Substitution Therapy/Treatment (OST) and now Medically Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependency (MATOD).


Though maybe not effective for everyone,

many find that pharmacotherapy has the ability to stabilise their condition,

allowing them to devote more time to managing or repairing their lives.


Once stabilised, clients may find they wish to strive for a drug-free existence by slowly reducing their dosage – or else they may be satisfied with a maintenance program and stay stable.


Pharmacotherapy has been found to reduce opiate-related harm to both the individual and society. Though other treatments exist (cognitive behavioural therapy(CBT), drug detoxification and (rehab) treatment centres etc., being on a pharmacotherapy program is at present our most effective answer to the problems associated with opioid dependence.

Pharmacotherapy programs are available throughout most of Australia.

However, each state or territory has its own pharmacotherapy policy

and programs can vary considerably.



There are four different pharmacotherapy drugs available in Victoria.

Each has it's own advantages and disadvantages.

When deciding with your doctor which is right for you, it may be helpful to check out our  fact sheets below:

Methadone Syrup , Biodone Forte (liquid)

Physeptone* (tablet)

*Only available for travel

Buprenorphine / Naloxone

(sublingual film)

Buprenorphine (sublingual tablet)

(tablet, subcutaneous implant, injection)

Depot Buprenorphine

(long acting buprenorphine injection)


If you are in Victoria

and you are experiencing ANY kind of trouble with your current pharmacotherapy program (Methadone, Suboxone etc.),

for example;
• you can’t get a dose or a number of doses
• you have been told to get a new prescriber or pharmacy due to a problem
• you feel you have been discriminated against or treated unfairly

by your pharmacist or GP
are thinking of starting or resuming a pharmacotherapy program and have any questions or there is a problem or concern

  • travelling inter-state or overseas and are on a pharmacotherapy program and need more information travelling


 If you are a prescriber or dispenser in need of information or advice,

on ANY client related issue or concern


Call PAMS – PH: 1800 443 844

We Can help.

All calls are entirely confidential.

PAMS is a free, government-funded service.

IF you get the message bank, please leave us a message with your name and contact number. We will return your call as soon as we can.

Please be patient. 

*Please note that our 'free-call' number is unfortunately NOT free from mobile phones.

If you are calling from a mobile, let us know and we will call you straight back.



PAMS is open from 11 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday.






or Email us:

NB: Email enquiries MAY take up to 72 hours for a response as we prioritise telephone enquiries. 



QLD – Queensland Pharmacotherapy Advocacy Mediation & Support Service (QPAMS)

          PH: 1800 175 889 – a program of the Queensland Drug User Organisation (QUIVAA)

WA –  Opiate Replacement Pharmacotherapy Advocacy and Complaints Service (ORPACS)

          PH: (08) 9321 2877 – a program of the WA Drug User Organisation (WASUA)

NSWMACS a program of Rankin Court (public clinic)

           PH: 1800 642 428

Statewide Pharmacotherapy Advocacy Services

If you are NOT in Victoria and you have a problem with your program, your local your state or territory drug-user organisation may be able to help you.

Check the AIVL (Australian IV League- the national drug user organisation) website or phone AIVL directly on 02 62791600 for more info on your state.