Corrections Health Service, New South Wales 1995 - '96
Achieving Excellence in Health Care, Annual Report

At risk Behaviour associated with Clonazepam

Following representations by the Minister for Corrective Services on the basis of information from the Corrections Health Service and the Department of Corrective Services, the prescription of clonazepam under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme now requires medical practitioners to obtain authorisation.

Clonazepam was responsible for a significant proportion of illicit intoxication and so disinhibited and emotionally reactive and aggressive behaviour by inmates in correctional centres with the consequence of "at risk" behaviour such as self harm and suicide attempts.

Restricting the condition for prescribing clonazepam in the community is a most significant achievement in the reduction of "at risk" behaviour in correctional centres.

Prior to restriction, clonazepam was available in 200 tablet quantities contrasting 50 for other benzodiazepines and its tablet was a smaller size but some four times as potent as these other tablets. Now, to obtain these tablets on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the person must have epilepsy which is not responsive to more traditional anticonvulsant drugs.