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Breaking Point: Ice & Methamphetamine Conference

  • : Launceston TAS 7250


Ice and methamphetamine have become significant drugs of concern for nurses and other health professionals. These concerns are not just related to health issues but also extend to personal protection and other significant social and community impacts. Attend this conference to be informed about the evidence and the facts underpinning these drugs. Includes:

  • A personal story of recovery from an ice addiction
  • How does ice change the brain?
  • Why can methamphetamine use induce depression, anxiety and psychosis?
  • De-escalation techniques to defuse violent behaviour
  • The impact of ice use during the perinatal period
  • Treatments for methamphetamine addiction
  • A guide to accessing services and much, much more…

Don’t miss this popular and highly evaluated conference! Book now!


Schedule Day One



Welcome and Introduction to Conference


Stuart Fenton

My Experience - A Personal Story of Addiction & Recovery

The experience of ice and methamphetamine use is life-changing and commonly results in addiction. The journey off the substance is complex but possible. This introductory session tells the story of a personal journey from recreational drug taking to addiction and eventual rehabilitation. In-so-doing, it reveals what is involved in withdrawal from ice use and the type of support a person is likely to need along this journey.

  • Getting “hooked” on a drug – an incremental decline
  • Accepting the fact that you are an addict
  • Getting off meth - a different process to heroin withdrawal
  • How long did it take for sustained withdrawal and what happened in this process?
  • What support was required?
  • What needs fulfillment worked after the withdrawal process to sustain abstinence?


Craig Maloney

Who Uses It? Facts About Ice

The impact of ice and methamphetamine use is now well known to have a highly disruptive impact on individuals. These effects extend to families and communities. Who exactly uses these drugs and what is the prevalence of use? This session will challenge your perceptions of ice and methamphetamine use and addresses:

  • Rebuffing the myths - who actually uses ice?
  • Why is ice such an issue of concern?
  • How does the media influence our perception of a typical “ice addict”?
  • How extensive is ice use compared to other drugs of addiction?



Geoff Ahern

“Ice, Crystal Meth, Tina” – Drug Profile and Effects Explained

There has never been a street drug quite like ice. Known by multiple names, ice is a crystallised form of methamphetamine. The physiological effects of this stimulant on the human body are vast. This session explains what ice is, its effects, signs, and symptoms. You will then be familiar with the risks associated with methamphetamine use. This session discusses:

  • What is ice and how does it differ from other methamphetamines?
  • How are these stimulant substances they taken?
  • What are the physiological effects on the body, signs, and symptoms?
    • Cardiovascular and respiratory effects
    • Renal, metabolic and fluid balance effects
    • Changes to the skin and appearance
    • Impact on normal homeostasis
    • Sexual function
  • Why can methamphetamine use induce depression, anxiety, and psychosis?
  • How does ice react to other substances - prescribed and non-prescribed?
  • What are common side-effects and risks associated with methamphetamine use?
  • Phases of use explained
  • Insights into methamphetamine toxicity and how diagnostic errors can occur


Geoff Ahern

The Neuroscience of Ice Addiction

Addiction has long been recognised as a disease of the brain. Vulnerable individuals consuming substances exhibit changes to their reward centres in the brain, encouraging drug-taking behaviour. Understanding the neuroplasticity of drug addiction has clinical significance for treatment. This session will reveal what exactly is happening in the brain when a person uses a drug. It will also explain how an addiction develops and in so doing continues to reinforce the need to see the person, not the drug. This session discusses:

  • How does ice change the brain?
  • How are reward centres in the brain stimulated?
  • What is the role of dopamine and other neurotransmitters?
  • Why do some people become addicted and others don’t?



Karyn Smith

Methamphetamines - A Practical Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and Postnatal Care

A common concern shared by midwives, nurses, and other health care professionals working in the drug and alcohol field relates to methamphetamine use during pregnancy, birth, and the postnatal period. This session will use a case study to practically explain:

  • What is known about the impact of ice and methamphetamine use during the perinatal period?
  • How to provide effective and compassionate care to a mother and baby during the pregnancy, birth, and postnatal period when methamphetamine use is occurring.



Karyn Smith

Children Caught up in Chaos - When Domestic Violence is Present

The nature of drug use is renowned for leaving a trail of destruction amongst families and communities. Children caught up in this chaos may be exposed to neglect, aggressive outbursts, hostility, and even violence. Being well-informed about your professional obligations in these situations will assist in these children remaining safe. This session will consider:

  • How do you know a child is at risk?
  • What are the implications for children living in chaotic and violent families?
  • What can nurses, midwives, and other health professionals do?
  • Stories of hope and recovery


Day Two



Stuart Fenton

The Art of Therapeutic Engagement

What if you knew that the person in front of you, an “ice addict”, had robbed a bank, was a sex offender, or even a serial killer. Would it matter? Would the care that you provide change? As much as we’d like to answer no to this question, the reality is that working with people who have a drug addiction often means working with challenging people. Viewing these people in a disdainful manner can result in rejection of the care offered. The impact of this may form a barrier separating the provision of care. This practical session will draw on personal and professional wisdom to discuss:

  • Is empathy something I have or can it be developed?
  • Communication, active listening, and body language that oozes non-judgemental care
  • A balancing act - maintaining professional boundaries whilst developing a therapeutic relationship
  • The principles used in a therapeutic environment
  • A look at Gestalt therapy and Narrative therapy as a way of healing


Craig Maloney

Safety When Dealing with People on Ice

Any person affected by illicit drugs may behave irrationally and could be a danger to themselves and others. All health professionals must be alert to the risks associated with these potential harms. This session discusses and demonstrates practical de-escalation techniques to defuse violent or aggressive behaviour and looks at:

  • The subtle physical cues of aggressive behaviour
  • Non-violent communication that can reduce the need for chemical and physical restraints
  • Body language tips to stay safe, de-escalate and defuse the situation
  • Practical techniques to protect:
    • The person
    • The public
    • Yourself



Craig Maloney

“I’m Not an Addict” - Moving from Denial to Action

The portrayal of ice and methamphetamine use in society can create a sense of denial about the possibility that recovery is possible. The psychology involved in deciding to stop using drugs can make it a tumultuous and difficult process. However, understanding the trajectory of use of a particular client means that practical interventions offered are likely to resonate with the client and may initiate change. This session will consider:

  • Why is it vital to understand one’s trajectory of use?
  • How may clients of different ages, demographics and different stages of use respond to interventions?
  • How can you tailor interventions, give appropriate referrals, and link services to the client’s stage to maximise engagement?
  • How can we as health professionals manage our own frustration if our desire for action is not achieved?


Stuart Fenton

Treatments for Methamphetamine Addiction

In conjunction with food, fluids, and safety, a range of treatments are available to assist a person with a methamphetamine addiction. Evidence suggest that the most effective treatments are behavioural therapies. This session will extend you knowledge by outlining and evaluating current approaches to treatment, including:

  • What are the different treatment types available for methamphetamine addiction?
  • Where are these treatments offered?
  • What are the various merits and indications for each of these treatments?
  • A look at the evidence - what achieves the best outcomes?



Stuart Fenton

Resources, Referrals and Rehabilitation - A Guide to Services

Well-informed nurses and other health professionals are well-placed to assist families and vulnerable individuals in the community. Understanding the various services available and how to access these can assist greatly. This session looks at the services available in Tasmania to assist you when caring for a person who uses ice or methamphetamines. This session includes:

  • Useful websites for future reference
  • An opportunity to ask questions
  • A list of resources including:
    • Withdrawal services
    • Residential and non-residential rehabilitation
    • Community based services e.g counselling, outreach, case management and support groups
  • How to make referrals to services and where to find more information on this
  • Resources for families, friends, carers, teachers, and individuals
  • How to access rehabilitation services in particular states




Harm Reduction - Applying Policy to Practice

Harm reduction is a widely accepted and long standing principle, which acknowledges that preventing all people from taking drugs is not achievable. Instead, there is the potential to improve health outcomes for people taking drugs by assisting them to maintain health and prevent complications of “using”. This final session will demonstrate how harm reduction policy can be applied to practice for those affected by ice and methamphetamine. This session includes:

  • An overview of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Council Tasmania Inc. (ATDC)
  • An explanation of harm reduction
  • The case for harm reduction in drug policy
  • Examples of harm reduction in practice
  • Best-practice responding to someone with problematic methamphetamine use
  • Introducing a best-practice response e-tool (newly released)


Final Questions and Discussion


The Goal Need for Program

Ice is a growing concern for Australian nurses and other healthcare professionals. It is destructive for health, families and communities, and creates a raft of medical, psychological and social problems. Nurses and other health professionals are increasingly exposed to people who are affected by this drug, but often without really understanding the health issues involved. It is important that nurses and other health professionals have access to correct evidence-based information about these substances and the management of those affected by them.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this conference is to inform nurses and other health professionals about the illicit drugs ice and methamphetamine, including their effects on people, the community and how recovery can be achieved.

Your learning outcomes:

Use evidence-based knowledge about ice and methamphetamine so as to create a safe environment for all concerned

Understand the ramifications of ice and methamphetamine use in the community and how to implement methods of harm reduction in your setting

Know the principles of rehabilitation and recovery and apply evidence-based approaches to assist sustained abstinence

Refer people using ice and methamphetamine appropriately and align your healthcare with Statewide strategies


Craig Maloney

Craig Maloney

Craig Maloney has a Masters of Mental Health Nursing and graduate qualifications in child and adolescent mental health, group work, ...Read More

Stuart Fenton

Stuart Fenton

Stuart Fenton is a Gestalt therapist and counsellor and also a recovered drug addict whose primary drug of choice was ... Read More

Karyn Smith

Karyn Smith

Karyn Smith is an outreach clinical midwife consultant at the Sunshine Hospital providing collaborative midwifery care to vulnerable families in ... Read More

To Be Determined

To Be Determined


Geoffrey Ahern

Geoffrey Ahern

Geoffrey Ahern is a senior mental health clinician who works with the Victorian Police on a specialised mental health emergency ...Read More

Breaking Point: Ice & Methamphetamine Conference
Speciality Classification
Interest Areas / Topics Covered
Provider Type
11 hours
Start Date
End Date
11 hours
Price Details
$715.00 (two days)
Launceston TAS 7250
Venue TBA, Launceston,
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