Novel interventions to address methamphetamines in Aboriginal communities, including a randomised trial of a web based therapeutic tool to treat dependence in clinical settings

October 2016

Associate Professor Rebecca McKetin (Chief Investigator)
Associate Professor Edward Wilkes (Chief Investigator)
Professor Dennis Gray (Chief Investigator)
Dr Julia Butt (Associate Investigator)

Other investigators: 

Principal Investigator:
Associate Professor James Ward, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Chief Investigators:
Professor Carla Treloar, University of New South Wales
Professor Katherine Conigrave, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown
Associate Professor Adrian Dunlop, Hunter New England Health
Dr Brendan Quinn, Burnet Institute
Dr Handan Wand, University of New South Wales
Associate Professor Nadine Ezard, St Vincents & Mater Health, Sydney

Project description: 

Methamphetamines are stimulant type drugs that are potent, illegal and readily available on the Australian illicit drug market. There is much concern about the widespread use of methamphetamines in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) communities. Only a few studies of methamphetamine use in Aboriginal communities have been completed and as such there are major gaps regarding patterns of methamphetamine use, the natural history of methamphetamine users (duration of use, frequency, methods of administration) and the health including mental health trajectories and social outcomes related to methamphetamine use.

Importantly trials of appropriate interventions to reduce methamphetamine use and its harms are urgently needed in Aboriginal communities, particularly in primary care services that Aboriginal people access. We propose, for the first time, a randomised trial of a web based therapeutic tool for use in Aboriginal Medical Services to treat clients using methamphetamines. In addition we will describe the health and well-being of Aboriginal people who use methamphetamines and trial unique Aboriginal community led interventions. We will work in nine sites nationally from urban, regional and remote communities.

This novel study will be groundbreaking and will contribute significantly to our understanding of this drug in Aboriginal community contexts as well as trial an intervention that will assist Aboriginal medical services in treating clients with methamphetamine use issues.