17th October 2023
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne
Rachel Payne,
(Member for South-Eastern Metropolitan Melbourne)

To ask the Minister for Mental Health (for the Minister for Health): 

How many Victorians in the past 12 months have been prescribed —

(a)  opiates;

(b)  benzodiazepines;

(c)  stimulants for treatment of ADHD; and

(d)  medicinal cannabis.

Written Answer
Received: 06 December 2023

Written Answer
Received: 06 December 2023
Hon. Mary-Anne Thomas MP
(Minister for Health, Minister for Health Infrastructure, Minister for Ambulance Services)

Available data does not list individual persons prescribed a medication, but rather individual prescribing events. In addition, the data does not consider that one person may receive more than one of each medicine from each group.

For the last year, between October 2022 and October 2023 the figures below describe average monthly prescriptions, which is the best estimate of the number of Victorians prescribed the below medications:

  • Opiates – 136,361
  • Benzodiazepines – 142,840
  • Stimulants for treatment of ADHD – 63,881*
  • Medicinal cannabis – 10,977**

*Whilst psychostimulants are frequently prescribed for treatment and management of ADHD, psychostimulants are also used in treatment of narcolepsy and binge eating disorder. The data source does not provide the reason why stimulants are being used for a patient, so the actual number of Victorians being prescribed stimulants for treatment of ADHD is less than shown in the table above.

** Not all medicinal cannabis prescription is captured since most products are not registered medicines in Australia. This means most medicinal cannabis products do not have a standardised medical code (which a registered medicine would have) to capture its prescribing or dispensing in SafeScript. The number of Victorians prescribed medicinal cannabis is therefore likely to be higher than what is in the table above.


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