Specified drugs

What are “specified drugs”?

These medicines are a list of prescription (Schedule 4) drugs that may be subject to misuse, including diversion for the manufacture of illicit drugs. The use of many “specified drugs” is restricted by sporting authorities, including the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) (external site).

The list of “specified drugs” is included in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1982 (Schedule 2A) (external site) and through this legislation there are significant penalties for illegal possession and supply, including drug trafficking. The Misuse of Drugs legislation is administered by the WA Police.

What medicines are listed as “specified drugs”?

There are two groups of “specified drugs”: Anabolic steroids and other androgenic substances such as prasterone (dehydroepiandrosterone, DHEA) as well as human growth hormone. A miscellaneous group which includes barbiturates, dextropropoxyphene (included in Digesic™ and Doloxene™), anorectics (including phentermine), ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, erythropoietins and darbepoetin as well as diazepam injection.

What is the effect of “specified drugs” being controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981?

It is an offence for a person to be in possession of a “specified drug” unless the drug has been prescribed for them or the person is authorised through the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014 (external site), to have the drug for the purpose of their profession or their employment.

What do health professionals need to know about “specified drugs”?

Best practice is that prescribers should not prescribe these medicines for themselves. Pharmaceutical representatives cannot supply these medicines as samples. Ensure all Schedule 4 medicines supplied to patients (including animals) are correctly labelled for the individual patient. Specific patient labelling is mandatory and will also help Police ascertain whether the person is legitimately in possession of a “specified drug”.

More information

Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch
Mailing address: PO Box 8172, Perth Business Centre, WA 6849
Phone: 9222 6883
Email: poisons@health.wa.gov.au