Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
REVIEW

Primary health-care responses to methamphetamine use in Australian Indigenous communities

Sarah MacLean A B , Angela Harney A and Kerry Arabena A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Indigenous Health Equity Unit, Melbourne School of Global and Population Health, The University of Melbourne, 207 Bouverie Street, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: smaclean@unimelb.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 21(4) 384-390 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY14126
Submitted: 20 August 2014  Accepted: 22 November 2014   Published: 23 February 2015

Abstract

Crystal methamphetamine (commonly known as ‘ice’) use is currently a deeply concerning problem for some Australian Indigenous peoples and can cause serious harms to individual, families and communities. This paper is intended to support best practice responses by primary health-care staff working with Australian Indigenous people who use methamphetamine. It draws on a systematic search of relevant databases to identify literature from January 1999 to February 2014, providing an overview of prevalence, treatment, education and harm reduction, and community responses. The prevalence of methamphetamine use is higher in Indigenous than non-Indigenous communities, particularly in urban and regional settings. No evidence was identified that specifically related to effective treatment and treatment outcomes for Indigenous Australians experiencing methamphetamine dependence or problematic use. While studies involving methamphetamine users in the mainstream population suggest that psychological and residential treatments show short-term promise, longer-term outcomes are less clear. Community-driven interventions involving Indigenous populations in Australia and internationally appear to have a high level of community acceptability; however, outcomes in terms of methamphetamine use are rarely evaluated. Improved national data on prevalence of methamphetamine use among Indigenous people and levels of treatment access would support service planning. We argue for the importance of a strength-based approach to addressing methamphetamine use, to counteract the stigma and despair that frequently accompanies it.


References

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013) Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey: first results, Australia, 2012–13. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

Australian Community Support Organisation (2013) ACSO Submission to the Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee: inquiry into the supply and use of methamphetamines, particularly ice, in Victoria. Australian Community Support Organisation, Melbourne.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011) 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report. Drug statistics series no. 25. Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Canberra.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2013) Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2011–12. Drug treatment series no. 21. Cat. no. HSE 139. Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Canberra.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2014a) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations 2012–13: online services report – key results. Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Canberra.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2014b) ‘Illicit use of drugs’ (NDSHS 2013 key findings). (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: Canberra)

Birckmayer J, Fisher DA, Holder HD, Yacoubian GS, (2008) Prevention of methamphetamine abuse: can existing evidence inform community prevention? Journal of Drug Education 38, 147–165.
Prevention of methamphetamine abuse: can existing evidence inform community prevention?CrossRef | 18724655PubMed |

Blue Moon Research and Planning (2008) Patterns of use and harms associated with specific populations of methamphetamine users in Australia: exploratory research: qualitative research report. Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra.

Booth A, Papaioannou D, Sutton A (2012) ‘Systematic approaches to a successful literature review.’ (Sage: London)

Brensilver M, Heinzerling KG, Shoptaw S (2013) Pharmacotherapy of amphetamine-type stimulant dependence: an update. Drug and Alcohol Review 32, 449–460.

Ciketic S, Hayatbakhsh MR, Doran CM, Najman JM, McKetin R (2012) A review of psychological and pharmacological treatment options for methamphetamine dependence. Journal of Substance Use 17, 363–383.
A review of psychological and pharmacological treatment options for methamphetamine dependence.CrossRef |

Cruickshank CC, Dyer KR (2009) A review of the clinical pharmacology of methamphetamine. Addiction 104, 1085–1099.
A review of the clinical pharmacology of methamphetamine.CrossRef | 19426289PubMed |

Cussen T, Payne J, Marks D (2014) Policing alcohol and illicit drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in metropolitan environments. National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund, Canberra. Monograph Series No. 48. National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund, Canberra.

Darke S, Kaye S, McKetin R, Duflou J (2008) Major physical and psychological harms of methamphetamine use. Drug and Alcohol Review 27, 253–262.
Major physical and psychological harms of methamphetamine use.CrossRef | 18368606PubMed |

Department of Health (2012) The Victorian Drug Statistics Handbook: patterns of drug use and related harm in Victoria for the period July 2010 to June 2011. Report Number 14. Department of Health, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.

Goldberg A (2007) A collaborative model for community action against methamphetamine. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 39, 327–335.
A collaborative model for community action against methamphetamine.CrossRef |

Gray D, Stearne A, Wilson M, Doyle M (2010) ‘Indigenous-specific alcohol and other drug interventions: continuities, changes and areas of greatest need.’ (Australian National Council on Drugs: National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University: Canberra)

Harney A, MacLean S, Arabena K (2014) ‘Treatment guidelines, training and information resources about methamphetamine (ice) use for Victorian Aboriginal communities.’ (Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, The University of Melbourne: Melbourne)

Jenner L, Lee N (2008) ‘Treatment approaches for users of methamphetamine: a practical guide for frontline workers.’ (Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing: Canberra)

Kay-Lambkin FJ, Baker AL, McKetin R, Lee N (2010) Stepping through treatment: reflections on an adaptive treatment strategy among methamphetamine users with depression. Drug and Alcohol Review 29, 475–482.
Stepping through treatment: reflections on an adaptive treatment strategy among methamphetamine users with depression.CrossRef | 20887570PubMed |

Kratzmann M, Mitchell E, Ware J, Banach L, Ward J, Ryan J, Sutton L, Griffiths P, Saunders M (2011) ‘Injecting drug use and associated harms among Aboriginal Australians.’ (Australian National Council on Drugs: Canberra)

Law Reform Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee (2014) Inquiry into the supply and use of methamphetamines, particularly ‘ice’, in Victoria – final report. Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.

Lee NK, Rawson RA (2008) A systematic review of cognitive and behavioural therapies for methamphetamine dependence. Drug and Alcohol Review 27, 309–317.
A systematic review of cognitive and behavioural therapies for methamphetamine dependence.CrossRef | 18368613PubMed |

Lee K, Freeburn B, Ella S, Miller W, Perry J, Conigrave K (Eds) (2012) ‘Handbook for Aboriginal alcohol and drug work.’ (University of Sydney: Sydney)

Lee KSK, Dawson A, Conigrave KM (2013) The role of an Aboriginal women’s group in meeting the high needs of clients attending outpatient alcohol and other drug treatment. Drug and Alcohol Review 32, 618–626.
The role of an Aboriginal women’s group in meeting the high needs of clients attending outpatient alcohol and other drug treatment.CrossRef |

LeeJenn Health Consultants (2014) Medication treatment options for amphetamine-type stimulant users. ANCD Research Paper 29. Australian National Council on Drugs, Canberra.

MacLean SJ, d’Abbs PHN (2002) Petrol sniffing in Aboriginal communities: a review of interventions. Drug and Alcohol Review 21, 65–72.
Petrol sniffing in Aboriginal communities: a review of interventions.CrossRef | 12189006PubMed |

Maisner L (2014) Ice breaker program restores pride Law Institute Journal 88, 29

Mapfumo L, Waples-Crowe P, Ware J (2010) Action research – addressing HIV risks related to injecting drug use in Victorian Aboriginal communities: a report for the Victorian Department of Health. Anex and VACCHO Inc., Melbourne.

McKetin R, Najman JM, Baker AL, Lubman DI, Dawe S, Ali R, Lee NK, Mattick RP, Mamun A (2012) Evaluating the impact of community-based treatment options on methamphetamine use: findings from the Methamphetamine Treatment Evaluation Study (MATES). Addiction 107, 1998–2008.
Evaluating the impact of community-based treatment options on methamphetamine use: findings from the Methamphetamine Treatment Evaluation Study (MATES).CrossRef | 22564065PubMed |

McKetin R, Dunlop AJ, Holland RM, Sutherland RA, Baker AL, Salmon AM, Hudson SL (2013a) Treatment outcomes for methamphetamine users receiving outpatient counselling from the Stimulant Treatment Program in Australia. Drug and Alcohol Review 32, 80–87.
Treatment outcomes for methamphetamine users receiving outpatient counselling from the Stimulant Treatment Program in Australia.CrossRef | 22642414PubMed |

McKetin R, Lubman DI, Baker AL, Dawe S, Ali RL (2013b) Dose-related psychotic symptoms in chronic methamphetamine users: evidence from a prospective longitudinal study. JAMA Psychiatry 70, 319–324.

Panenka WJ, Procyshyn RM, Lecomte T, MacEwan GW, Flynn SW, Honer WG, Barr AM (2013) Methamphetamine use: a comprehensive review of molecular, preclinical and clinical findings. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 129, 167–179.
Methamphetamine use: a comprehensive review of molecular, preclinical and clinical findings.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC38XhvFWhtrvO&md5=61d86d9383fcc05973f080acba0698d3CAS | 23273775PubMed |

Pennay A, Lee N (2008) ‘Prevention and early intervention of methamphetamine-related harm Melbourne.’ Prevention Research Quarterly. (DrugInfo Clearinghouse: Melbourne)

Pennay AE, Lee NK (2011) Putting the call out for more research: the poor evidence base for treating methamphetamine withdrawal. Drug and Alcohol Review 30, 216–222.
Putting the call out for more research: the poor evidence base for treating methamphetamine withdrawal.CrossRef | 21355922PubMed |

Quinn B, Stoové M, Dietze P (2013) Factors associated with professional support access among a prospective cohort of methamphetamine users. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 45, 235–241.
Factors associated with professional support access among a prospective cohort of methamphetamine users.CrossRef | 23522848PubMed |

Rawson RA (2013) Current research on the epidemiology, medical and psychiatric effects, and treatment of methamphetamine use. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis 21, S77–S81.
Current research on the epidemiology, medical and psychiatric effects, and treatment of methamphetamine use.CrossRef | 25214749PubMed |

Sherman SG, Sutcliffe C, Srirojn B, Latkin CA, Aramratanna A, Celentano DD (2009) Evaluation of a peer network intervention trial among young methamphetamine users in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Social Science & Medicine 68, 69–79.
Evaluation of a peer network intervention trial among young methamphetamine users in Chiang Mai, Thailand.CrossRef |

Shoptaw SJ, Kao U, Heinzerling K, Ling W (2009) Treatment for amphetamine withdrawal. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews CD003021

Silins E, Bleeker AM, Simpson M, Dillon P, Copeland J (2013) Does peer-delivered information at music events reduce ecstasy and methamphetamine use at three month follow-up? Findings from a quasi-experiment across three study sites. Journal of Addiction Prevention 1, 1–8.

State Services Commission New Zealand (2013) Multi-agency initiative praised for reducing methamphetamine use. Available at http://www.ssc.govt.nz/bps-celebrating-success-reducing-meth-use [Verified 25 March 2014]

Sweeney J, Payne J (2012) Drug use monitoring in Australia: 2009–10 report on drug use among police detainees. Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.

Te Puni Kōkiri (2008) Patua Te Ngangara ki Hoani Waititi Marae – Evaluation Report. Te Puni Kōkiri: Ministry for Māori Development, Wellington.

Teasdale KE, Conigrave KM, Kiel KA, Freeburn B, Long G, Becker K (2008) Improving services for prevention and treatment of substance misuse for Aboriginal communities in a Sydney area health service. Drug and Alcohol Review 27, 152–159.
Improving services for prevention and treatment of substance misuse for Aboriginal communities in a Sydney area health service.CrossRef | 18264875PubMed |

van der Sterren AE, Anderson IP, Thorpe LG (2006) Individual harms, community harms: reconciling indigenous values with drug harm minimisation policy. Drug and Alcohol Review 25, 219–225.
Individual harms, community harms: reconciling indigenous values with drug harm minimisation policy.CrossRef | 16753645PubMed |

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (2013) Inquiry into supply and use of methamphetamines, particularly ice, in Victoria: submission from the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Co-Operative Limited, Melbourne.

Victorian Dual Diagnosis Education and Training Unit (2012) Our healing ways: putting wisdom into practice, working with co-existing mental health and drug issues. Victorian Dual Diagnosis Education and Training Unit, Melbourne.

Walker RD, Bigelow DA, LePak JH, Singer MJ (2011) Demonstrating the process of community innovation: the Indian country methamphetamine initiative. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 43, 325–330.
Demonstrating the process of community innovation: the Indian country methamphetamine initiative.CrossRef | 22400464PubMed |

Watanabe-Galloway S, Ryan S, Hansen K, Hullsiek B, Muli V, Malone AC (2009) Effects of methamphetamine abuse beyond individual users. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 41, 241–248.
Effects of methamphetamine abuse beyond individual users.CrossRef | 19999677PubMed |



Export Citation Cited By (1)

View Altmetrics