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Breaking Point: Ice & Methamphetamine Conference

  • : Townsville QLD 4810

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. This conference includes:

  • A personal story of recovery from an ice addiction
  • A look at how ice changes the brain
  • How methamphetamine use can 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…
Schedule Day One



Dr Karen-Ann Clarke

Welcome and Introduction to Conference from Chairperson


Professor Gracelyn Smallwood

Acknowledgement of Country


Professor Gracelyn Smallwood

The Community and Cultural Impact of Ice in Rural Queensland Communities

The impact of ice and methamphetamine use is now well known to extend beyond the person using the drug. Families and communities across rural Queensland are touched by the devastating effects of ice and methamphetamine use. Nurses and other health professionals working in any setting must be able to consider the family, community, and cultural impacts of this drug when working with people affected by ice. This introductory session looks at:

  • How is this drug affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations of rural Queensland?
  • How can national policy be applied to rural communities?


Professor Gracelyn Smallwood

Culturally Appropriate Mental Health Care

Care of a person that embodies cultural competence results in a profound sense of respectfulness towards people no matter their background. In order for this to occur, personal practices, system wide behaviours, and policies need to be in place. This session looks at what creates culturally safe care. Includes:

  • How do personal beliefs affect cross-cultural nursing care?
  • In the context of a mental illness or substance abuse, what is meant by cultural competence?
  • What are the features of a culturally competent workplace?



Dr Karen-Ann Clarke

The Neuroscience of Ice Addiction

Addiction has long been recognised as a disease of the brain. Vulnerable individuals that consume addictive 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, will continue to reinforce the need to see the person, not the drug. This session Includes:

  • 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?


Dr Karen-Ann Clarke

Insights into the Psychological Effects of Ice and Methamphetamine

Ice and methamphetamine are psychoactive drugs and as such have an impact on brain function. Although this differs between individuals, they can cause effects such as depression and even profound psychosis. This session looks at the types of mental health dysfunctions that result from this drug’s use, including:

  • Why can methamphetamine use induce depression, anxiety, and psychosis?
  • What are the symptoms of psychosis?
  • Who are most at risk for developing psychosis?
  • What interventions are required during a psychotic episode?
  • Does the psychosis automatically resolve when the drugs are withdrawn?
  • Can the use of ice trigger schizophrenia?
  • When are people most at risk for developing feelings of depression?



Dr Karen-Ann Clarke

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 ways to keep yourself, the public, and anyone affected by ice free of injury and safe. This session looks at:

  • What are subtle physical cues of aggressive behaviour?
  • What non-violent communication can reduce the need for chemical and physical restraints?
  • What body language tips help you to stay safe and de-escalate and defuse the situation?
  • And practical techniques to protect:
    • The person
    • The public
    • Yourself



Janice Quadrio

How Nurses Can Support Families and Carers

The destructive impact of an ice or methamphetamine addiction is not contained to an individual. Parents, siblings, and family members connected to an individual are also under an enormous amount of pressure. This session reveals how an innovative model of care, which acknowledges this impact, is improving outcomes for all parties involved. Practically, it will highlight the ways in which nurses can support carers. This session includes:

  • What is the carer’s perspective of an individual’s ice addiction?
  • How does supporting carers in turn help individuals?
  • What practical ways can nurses support carers?
  • What elements of this model of care can be translated into nursing practice?


Day Two



Dr Karen-Ann Clarke

Methamphetamines and Motherhood -– A Practical Approach to Non-Judgemental Care

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

  • What is known about the impact of ice and methamphetamine use during the perinatal period?
  • How you can find the time to provide compassionate harm minimisation education to women when methamphetamine use is occurring to a mother and baby during the pregnancy, birth, and postnatal period?
  • How effective is motivational interviewing?
  • Why is it important for caregivers to understand the state of change?


Representative from Salvation Army Townsville Recovery Services

A Holistic Approach to Recovery

The portrayal of ice and methamphetamine use in society can create a sense of denial about the possibility of recovery. The journey off the substance is complex but possible. The Salvation Army Townsville Recovery Services is one example of a successful local program that provides a holistic treatment service. This session will look at how this local service enables individuals who are experiencing an ice addiction to achieve physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing. Find out:

  • What does recovery from an ice/methamphetamine addiction look like?
  • How does the Townsville Recovery Service support local individuals to recover?
  • What are the holistic principles of the program?
  • How can nurses, midwives, and other health professionals connect individuals with this community-based therapeutic service?




Managing Withdrawal from Methamphetamines

Successful short and long term withdrawal from methamphetamine use is possible. However, this is not usually a linear process and takes time and may involve commitment and flexibility by client and clinician. This session looks at the multifactorial nature of withdrawal, with a focus on:

  • What are the stages of withdrawal associated with ice and methamphetamine use?
  • How is it best to manage concurrent withdrawal from methamphetamines and other substances?
  • Which medications may be beneficial during phases of withdrawal?
  • How do we manage anxiety, depression, and other psychological symptoms
  • Where does ambulatory withdrawal fit into a long term recovery plan?
  • Useful resources and post-withdrawal services



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 suggests that the most effective treatments are behavioural therapies. This session will extend you knowledge by outlining and evaluating current approaches to treatment. Includes:

  • What are the different treatment types available for methamphetamine addiction?
  • Where are these treatments offered?
  • Various merits and indications for each of these treatments
  • A look at Far North Queensland-specific resources for nurses, midwives and other health professionals
  • Where to find more information on this



Casey Doyle

Harm Reduction – Respecting the Rights of People who use Methamphetamine

Harm reduction is a pragmatic concept that recognises the reality of drug use and acknowledges that it can be more effective to focus efforts towards reducing the harms associated with drug use than to support attempts to eliminate it altogether. Harm reduction has been a pillar of the Australian National Drug Strategy for over two decades. This session will present a range of evidence-based harm reduction strategies for people who use methamphetamine, including:

  • Needle and Syringe Programs (NSP)
  • Drug Consumption Rooms (DCR)
  • Blood borne virus and sexual health screening
  • Other practical interventions that can be provided by nurses on the frontline


Casey Doyle

The End of Prohibition? The Case for Drug Policy Reform

Prohibition-based approaches to drug policy have been employed throughout much of the world for over five decades. Consequently, there now exists a significant body of evidence on whether enforcement-led strategies towards drug use are effective. This session will present some of the outcomes of the global “war on drugs” and question whether prohibition has played a role in the emergence and increase of ice use in Australia. It will also examine the influence that public perceptions of drug use and addiction have on drug policy and will present the empirical evidence for drug policy reform, including:

  • The decriminalisation of personal drug use
  • The legal regulation of the illicit drug market



Casey Doyle

Surviving Emotionally Taxing Work Environments

The intrinsic nature of working with people who are experiencing a drug addiction means that we are exposed to a range of challenges. Feeling unsafe, witnessing violence and tragedy, and dealing with trauma are some examples. This emotionally taxing environment can result in tension with colleagues, family, and friends. This session will begin day two of the conference by creating an opportunity to discuss the following:

  • What are the professional implications of working in challenging areas of nursing and healthcare?
  • How prevalent is stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue?
  • Practical tips for supporting yourself and colleagues so you can help others


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 and the community, and how recovery can be achieved.

Your learning outcomes:

Use evidence-based knowledge about ice and methamphetamine 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


To Be Determined

To Be Determined


Karen-Ann Clarke

Karen-Ann Clarke

Dr. Karen-Ann Clarke is a registered general and mental health nurse who has worked in a wide variety of acute ... Read More

Gracelyn Smallwood

Gracelyn Smallwood

Professor Smallwood is a practicing Indigenous registered nurse/midwife and prominent Aboriginal leader with 45 years’ experience, nationally and internationally, as ... Read More

Janice Quadrio

Janice Quadrio

Janice Quadrio is a social worker with more than 30 years experience. She is currently employed as a mental health ... Read More

Representative from Salvation Army Townsville Recovery Services

Representative from Salvation Army Townsville Recovery Services

Salvation Army Townsville Recovery Services seeks to bring hope, healing and wholeness to all people adversely affected by alcohol, other ... Read More

Casey  Doyle

Casey Doyle

Casey Doyle is a Credentialled Drug and Alcohol Nurse (CDAN) who is currently working as a clinical nurse consultant in ...Read More

Breaking Point: Ice & Methamphetamine Conference
Speciality Classification
Interest Areas
Provider Type
11 hours
Start Date
End Date
11 hours
Price Details
$715.00 (two days)
Townsville QLD 4810
Mercure Townsville, 166 Woolcock Street
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