Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Development – methamphetamine

September 2016

Ann Roche, Allan Trifonoff, Roger Nicholas

Project description: 

NCETA is undertaking a program of work designed to address growing concerns about the use of crystal methamphetamine and its impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their families and communities.

There are strong indications that the use of crystal methamphetamine may be higher among some groups of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and that they may be starting to use it at an earlier age compared to the rest of the population.

In responding to these issues, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AOD workers can face unique stressors such as:

  • High community expectations about responses to crystal methamphetamine-related issues confronting families and communities
  • Difficulty in defining roles and boundaries with their clients
  • Rolestigmatisation associated with working in the AOD sector
  • A lack of cultural understandingand support from non-Indigenous colleagues in relation to working with crystal methamphetamine-affected clients
  • Heavy personalloads especially if workers’ family members are using crystal methamphetamine.

Hence, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AOD workers and other frontline workers in the health, welfare, education and justice sectors need to be supported and provided with reliable and up-to-date and appropriate information to assist them to adequately meet the needs of clients with crystal methamphetamine-related problems.


1. Conducting a series of interactive workshops for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers using an evidence-based approach to address a range of issues, dispel common myths and help participants identify practical strategies and tools that they can use in a range of settings. Specifically the workshops will assist frontline Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers to:

a. Understand how crystal methamphetamine affects users
b. Identify the signs of crystal methamphetamine use
c. Enhance their knowledge about where to refer their clients for help with their crystal methamphetamine use
d. Keep themselves safe around crystal methamphetamine users
e. Work more effectively with people who have been using crystal methamphetamine.


2. Developing an information resource on crystal methamphetamine to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers employed in Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations. The information resource outlines key issues surrounding crystal methamphetamine use and outline strategies to support workers in responding to these issues.

3. Developing a Customised Topic, as part of its online training for frontline workers, on working with Indigenous communities impacted by crystal methamphetamine use. The Customised Topic will be aimed at Indigenous and non-Indigenous workers. It will be developed in consultation with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and a reference group of key stakeholders and is due for release in late 2016.