New app to help curb Indigenous ice use

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who use the drug “ice” are being urged to trial a new web-app as part of a public health project designed to stop methamphetamine consumption.

The We Can Do This app was developed by University of Queensland and South Australian medical researchers, with input from Aboriginal people who have previously used ice.

UQ School of Public Health project leader Professor James Ward said the app included interactive modules on social, health and psychological elements linked to drug addiction.

“Questions and strategies used in the app are evidence-based and delivered in a culturally sensitive format to encourage self-reflection, and provide support and practical actions for recovery,” Professor Ward said.

“There’s also information to help users understand their addiction and cravings, and alternative suggestions to taking ice.”

The trial is open to anyone aged over 16 years who identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and has used ice recently.

Professor Ward said a lack of culturally appropriate services, stigma and shame, social determinants of health, and perceptions about drug use created barriers to quitting ice.

“One of the good things about this online app is that it can be accessed by those needing help in regional and remote communities where there are limited or no alcohol and drug services available,” he said.

“Participants use the app for six weeks and complete a questionnaire over three months to measure how their ice use has been impacted.

“The onus is on users to take action.

“Users don’t always want to talk about their addictions, so this app gives them a proactive way they can do that in private.”

Latest figures show ice use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is double that of non-Indigenous people.

This project has been developed in partnership with the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

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