'Ice' users help themselves online

June 2015
Tait, R.J., McKetin, R., Kay-Lambkin, F.J., Carron-Arthur, B., Bennett, A., Bennett, K., Christensen, H. and Griffiths, K.M. (2015). Six-month outcomes of a web-based intervention for users of amphetamine-type stimulants: Randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17, (4), pp. e105. DOI: 10.2196/jmir.3778.

Regular methamphetamine users, and in particular users of 'ice', are likely to experience harms such as dependence and mental health problems, and early intervention is important to prevent problems becoming severe. However, as the current treatment for methamphetamine use relies on intensive psychotherapy, access is extremely limited, particularly outside of major cities.

This paper reports on the randomized controlled trial of an online treatment program designed to help people who use amphetamine-type stimulant drugs like methamphetamine. The six-month study evaluated the effectiveness of a self-guided web-based intervention, “breakingtheice” for amphetamine-type stimulant users via a free-to-access site.

The trial found that online treatment is promising. People who received the online treatment were more likely to seek help for their drug use, and were more engaged in their usual day-to-day activities, than people who did not receive the online treatment.

The research was conducted by a collaboration between researchers at NDRI, NDARC, the Australian National University and the Black Dog Institute.  The research collaboration is now seeking further funding to develop the intervention so that it can be made available as a viable treatment option.