What is SafeScript NSW
SafeScript NSW is computer software that allows prescribers (general practitioners, other medical specialists and nurse practitioners) and pharmacists to access real-time information about your prescription history for certain high-risk medicines, known as monitored medicines, such as opioids and benzodiazepines. This information helps your prescriber or pharmacist make safer clinical decisions about your care.
It is important for your prescriber and pharmacist to know what monitored medicines you are taking because some medicines taken in high doses, or when taken with other medicines, have the potential to be harmful.
Why is it being introduced
The increasing harm from unsafe use of monitored medicines is a major public health concern. In 2019, there were 1,644 unintentional deaths due to drug overdoses in Australia. 429 (26%) deaths were due to pharmaceutical opioids and 582 (35%) deaths involved benzodiazepines. To learn more about these statistics, view the Penington Institute Australia's Annual Overdose Report 2021.
SafeScript NSW is part of NSW Health’s commitment to reduce harm from monitored medicines and help save lives.
List of monitored medicines
The list of medicines monitored by SafeScript NSW were considered by a panel of medical experts based on which medicines have the potential to cause the most harm to the community in NSW.
Monitored medicines include:
Including but not limited to buprenorphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, pethidine, tapentadol, tramadol
Benzodiazepines (prescribed for anxiety or sleep)
Including but not limited to alprazolam, bromazepam, clobazam, clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, midazolam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, temazepam
Other sleeping aids
Psychostimulants (prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy)
Dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine, methylphenidate
Ketamine, pregabalin, quetiapine, cannabis based medicines in Schedule 8
A full list of monitored medicines is included in the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 (Appendix E).
How SafeScript NSW works
Your prescriber and pharmacist will use SafeScript NSW to see real-time information about your prescription history only for certain high-risk medicines. This information enables them to make safer clinical decisions about your care and helps them to identify circumstances where you may be at risk of harm.
These circumstances include where you:
- are taking high doses of opioids
- are taking two or more medicines that have the potential to become harmful when combined, for example certain opioids (e.g. oxycodone, Endone® or fentanyl) and benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium® or temazepam)
- have visited multiple prescribers and pharmacies within a short period of time.
SafeScript NSW does not instruct your health practitioner what to do or whether a medicine should or should not be prescribed or dispensed to you. The decision about whether to prescribe or dispense medicines to you remains with your prescriber and pharmacist as they are best placed to determine whether the medicines prescribed to you remain the safest and best option based on your needs and individual circumstances.
If you have been receiving the same medicines, or unsafe combinations, from more than one prescriber without each prescriber knowing, you could be at risk of harm. With access to the SafeScript NSW information, your prescriber may talk to you about changes for your safety, which might include better coordination of care, safely adjusting your medicine doses or recommending alternative approaches to managing issues such as pain, anxiety or sleep difficulties (e.g. insomnia).
Your prescriber or pharmacist will have access to a telephone advisory service for additional support and advice from health practitioners specialising in pain management, anxiety and other mental health conditions and substance use problems. This service can assist your prescriber and pharmacist in ensuring that you continue to receive the safest and most appropriate ongoing care for your medical needs.
Support and resources
If you feel like you have been impacted by SafeScript NSW and want support, contact or visit:
- Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) NSW – 24/7 information, support and referrals for those affected by alcohol and other drugs on 1800 250 015 (webchat also available)
- NSW Users and AIDS Association PeerLine - confidential peer-run telephone service providing support to people who use drugs, are on the opioid treatment program or are seeking treatment on 1800 644 413
- support and resources page.
Frequently asked questions
Are prescribers and pharmacists being given training to use SafeScript NSW?
As part of the introduction of SafeScript NSW, comprehensive training is available to prescribers and pharmacists on how to use the SafeScript NSW system to ensure safer prescribing and dispensing as well as how to support the individual needs of consumers. This training gives your prescriber and pharmacist the confidence and skills to continue to provide you with the safest and most appropriate advice and ongoing care.
Your prescriber and pharmacist also has access to a dedicated 24/7 clinical advice line for additional support and advice from health practitioners specialising in pain management, anxiety and other mental health conditions and substance use problems. This service can assist your prescriber and pharmacist in ensuring that you continue to receive the safest and most appropriate ongoing care for your medical needs.
Is SafeScript NSW the same as My Health Record?
No, SafeScript NSW and My Health Record are not the same.
My Health Record is a patient-controlled summary of your health records and includes a variety of medical history information including pathology results, GP authored health summaries, medicine information and hospital discharge summaries. You can choose what information is included in your My Health Record and who can view it.
SafeScript NSW only contains information about monitored medicines that are prescribed for and supplied to you. You cannot choose which records are held in SafeScript NSW and neither can your treating health practitioner.
SafeScript NSW is not integrated with My Health Record in any way and does not add any information to My Health Record.
For more information
For enquiries about SafeScript NSW, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.