Internet interventions for substance use problems: Can the ideal of universal care be fulfilled?

April 2014

NDRI: Dr Robert Tait

Project description: 

Interventions delivered via the internet may help to overcome many of the current barriers to health care in Australia. This is particularly the case for marginalised and stigmatised groups, such as those with substance use disorders and other mental health problems. Dr Tait has received a 4-year Early Career Research Fellowship from Curtin University to investigate the effectiveness of current interventions and examine means of improving access, engagement and retention in internet interventions targeting substance use problems and disorders. The cost of substance use is estimated at over $68 billion per year in Australia, so even small changes in behaviour have the potential to achieve major economic impacts.

Dr Tait is currently coordinating the breakingtheice project with colleagues at the Australian National University in Canberra and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Sydney.  Breakingtheice is evaluating an online intervention for users of illicit stimulants such as methamphetamine and ecstasy.  Based on a similar, successful model for alcohol problems, the program is for people who recognise that they have a problem and are looking for ways to overcome it. This randomised controlled trial will compare participants who are current users of illicit stimulants to a wait list control group, and the outcomes will be analysed to see if this is an effective way of treating people.

For more about this project: Go to NDRI's website