Dependence on opioid drugs (which include codeine, heroin and oxycodone) is associated with a range of health and social problems that affect individual drug users, their family and friends, and the wider public. Treatment with an opioid pharmacotherapy drug, such as methadone or buprenorphine, can reduce drug cravings [1] and improve physical and mental health and social and economic participation, including a reduction in drug-related crime [2].

The National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data (NOPSAD) collection provides information on a snapshot day in June 2016 on clients receiving opioid pharmacotherapy treatment, the doctors prescribing opioid pharmacotherapy drugs, and the dosing points (such as pharmacies) that clients attend to receive their medication.

Data coverage

The 2016 NOPSAD report contains data from New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Data from Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory were not available in time for publication of the NOPSAD 2016 report due to changes in system issues and reporting processes, respectively. The report will be updated at a later stage to include data from Victoria when it becomes available and the Australian Capital Territory’s data received. As data for Victoria and the ACT are not included in the report, caution should be used when interpreting this data as the national totals will contain an undercount of clients, prescribers and dosing points. Comparison at the national level between data for 2016 and data from previous years should not be made until the report is updated to include full national data.


  1. NDARC (National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre) 2004. Treatment options for heroin and other opioid dependence: a guide for frontline workers. Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing for the National Drug Strategy. Viewed 12 January 2017.
  2. Ritter A & Chalmers J 2009. Polygon: the many sides to the Australian opioid pharmacotherapy maintenance system. ANCD research paper no. 18. Canberra: Australian National Council on Drugs.