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Breaking Point: Ice & Methamphetamine Conference

  • : West Lakes SA 5021

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. It includes:

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



Welcome and Introduction


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?


Roger Nicholas

Who Really 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 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


Rinaldo Minniti

The Neuroscience of Ice Addiction

Addiction is often perceived as a moralistic or social judgement. However, since 1954, there has been consistent evidence that there is a significant neurological and biochemical component to addiction. Addiction is associated with certain brain changes at the biochemical and structural level. This session will introduce aspects of such changes and their implication for understanding and treating addiction with a particular emphasis on the crystalline version of methamphetamine “ice”.

  • What happens in the brain when drugs are used?
  • How is the “reward” centre innervated by drugs?
  • What is the role of neurotransmitters in addiction?
  • How do these changes influence the addiction process?
  • What factors make some people more vulnerable than others to develop and addiction?
  • Formation and impact of “craving memories” on addictive behaviour
  • What is the opponent process theory of addiction?
  • Are there any medications that can be efficacious in treating ice addiction?
  • What are the implications for understanding, research, and treatment?



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 suggests that the most effective treatments are behavioural therapies. This session extends your knowledge by outlining and evaluating current approaches to treatment and includes:

  • 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

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


Final Questions and Discussion


Day Two



Jeannette Stott

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?
  • What supports and services are available in South Australia?


Rinaldo Minniti

Motivational Enhancement – Preparing People to Make a Decision Regarding Change in Their Drug Use

Motivation Enhancement Therapy (MET) is related to Motivational Interviewing (MI). MET goes further to help the person maintain, as well as enhance motivation regarding change in their drug use. It is particularly useful in people who are not ambivalent regarding change – whereas the focus with MI is on resolving ambivalence. This session will present and discuss the principles and techniques that are the bases of MET, including:

  • The spirit of MET
  • The concept of motivation
  • Keeping the person in therapy
  • Decision making
  • Changing attitudes regarding drugs
  • Motivation for lifestyle change
  • Monitoring change



Geoff Ahern

Safety When Dealing With People On Ice - Defusing and De-escalating Techniques

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:

  • What are the physical cues that suggest someone may be affected by crystal methamphetamine (ICE)?
  • How do you protect:
    • The person?
    • The public?
    • Yourself?
  • How do you de-escalate and defuse a situation?
  • How do you reduce the need for chemical and physical restraints: body language and personal safety?


Dr Linda Starr

The Law and Methamphetamine Use

Because ice and methamphetamine are illegal AND highly addictive substances associated with criminal origins, there are many legal concerns. This session considers the following:

  • Can a person be forced into treatment for their addiction and, if so, will such coercion work?
  • What situations exist where mandatory reporting applies?
  • What happens when a nurse is found to be an occasional user of ice or meth?
  • How does the nurse take a forensic approach to the nursing colleague using methamphetamines?



Stephen Lymb

Harm Reduction and Healing

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 preventing the complications of “using”. This session will take you through a range of practical evidence-based strategies relating to harm reduction for those affected by ice and methamphetamine. It includes:

  • How does a rational, integrated approach to harm minimisation work to reduce death, disease, and social problems?
  • How can nurses and other front-line workers respond effectively to the needs of those with problematic ice and methamphetamine use?
  • How can you establish a good professional relationship with a person who uses ice?
  • What is the role of needle and syringe programs and medically supervised injecting centres?
  • Is there any merit in encouraging users to smoke rather than inject?
  • How to refer and what resources are available


Stephen Lymb

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 South Australia 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



Barb Hancock

First Thyself: Self-Care When Working in Emotionally Taxing Environments

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

  • What are the professional and personal implications of working in challenging areas of nursing and healthcare?
  • How can you respond to stress with self-compassion?
  • How do you reach out when times are tough?


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


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

Stuart Fenton

Stuart Fenton

Stuart Fenton (Stu) is a clinical psychotherapist and counsellor who has over ten years of experience working in the addiction ... Read More

Roger Nicholas

Roger Nicholas

Roger Nicholas is the senior project manager at the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University, ...Read More

Rinaldo Minniti

Rinaldo Minniti

Rinaldo Minniti is currently the clinical lead for psychology in the Drug and Alcohol Services, South Australia. He has senior ... Read More

Linda Starr

Linda Starr

Dr Linda Starr is a general and mental health qualified nurse, lawyer, and associate professor in the School of Nursing ... Read More

Stephen  Lymb

Stephen Lymb

Steve Lymb has been employed by Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia Health (DASSA) since 1999, where he is manager ...Read More

Barb Hancock

Barb Hancock

Barb Hancock worked as a Registered Nurse for 15 years in the clinical setting before her interest in cancer support ... Read More

Jeannette Stott

Jeannette Stott

Jeannette Stott is a registered psychologist with over 27 years in human services. She is the Southern Regional Manager at ... 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)
West Lakes SA 5021
The Lakes Resort Hotel Adelaide, 141 Brebner Drive
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