Flinders’ NCETA launches Australia’s first one-stop shop on meth addiction

NCETA Director, Professor Ann Roache. The Centre is hosting the national 'Grey Matters' conference next week.
NCETA Director, Professor Ann Roche.

If knowledge is power, Flinders University’s National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction’s (NCETA) new methamphetamine Knowledgebase could become one of the most important tools in the battle against ice addiction.

In an Australian first, the publicly available, Q&A style database, funded by the Federal Government, provides service providers and law enforcement with the latest high quality research, giving them the ability to cut through the misinformation around crystal methamphetamine (or ice) and do their jobs more effectively.

The National Alcohol and Drug Knowledgebase (NADK) database provides easy access to answers to the big questions on methamphetamine, including its impact on health, law enforcement, crime, young people, employment and medical treatment.

Significantly, it also includes a snapshot of methamphetamine use in rural and regional Australia.

In order to provide the biggest and highest quality resource of its kind in Australia, researchers from Flinders’ NCECTA painstakingly analysed vast quantities of information from a wide range of key methamphetamine-related datasets.

The result is detailed responses to almost 100 FAQs for policy makers, researchers, service providers and law enforcement, many of which link to further supporting information.

NCETA Director, Professor Ann Roche, said the database was the only one available on trends and utilisation of treatment for methamphetamine-related issues.

“For example in 2012-13, the proportion of treatment episodes for which amphetamines were the principal drug of concern increased by a third to 14% from previous years placing greater demand on treatment services,” says Professor Roche.

“In addition, it answers important and often misunderstood questions about the short-term and long-term physical and psychological effects of methamphetamine and how to identify if someone is experiencing adverse effects.

“This has important implications for service providers and the way in which services are able to respond to this growing demand.”

The Knowledgebase can be accessed at http://nadk.flinders.edu.au/ or on the NCETA home page at www.nceta.flinders.edu.au

 

Key facts on methamphetamine use in Australia:

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, half (50%) reported that crystal methamphetamine (ice) was the main form that they used.
Seven percent of Australians have used meth/amphetamine in their lifetime, 2.1% have used in the past 12 months, 0.8% have used in the past month, and 0.4% have used in the past week.
16% of Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months used once per week or more; 17% used about once per month; 20% used every few months; and 48% used once or twice per year.
In the past 12 months, 1.4% of Australians used crystal methamphetamine (ice).
Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, the largest proportion (41%) reported smoking the drug, followed by swallowing (26%). One in ten (10%) users injected meth/amphetamine.
Australians living in outer regional/remote/very remote locations are more likely to have used meth/amphetamine in their lifetime and in the past 12 months, compared to Australians living in major cities or inner regional locations.
2.3% of employed Australians used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months compared to 5.6% of unemployed Australians.
Compared to the total workforce, the prevalence of meth/amphetamine use in the past 12 months is particularly high in wholesale (5.3%), construction (5.2%), hospitality (3.2%), manufacturing (3.2%), mining (3.2%), and administrative services (2.8%).
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