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Breaking Point: Ice & Methamphetamine Conference

  • : Brisbane City QLD 4000

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 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



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 an 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 worked after the withdrawal process to sustain abstinence?



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. However, a conversation around this drug also needs to consider who exactly uses these drugs, what is actual the prevalence of use, and how big of a problem is concurrent mental health issues? This session will challenge your perceptions of ice and methamphetamine use and addresses:

  • Rebuffing the myths – who actually uses ice, how big a problem is it?
  • How does the media influence our perception of ice and a typical “ice addict”?
  • How extensive is ice use compared to other drugs of addiction?
  • Are we talking enough about co-existing mental health conditions?



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. It includes:

  • 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 in 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


Geoff Ahern

The Neuroscience of Ice Addiction

Addiction has long been recognised as a disease of the brain. Vulnerable individuals who consume these 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 addiction develops and, in so doing, continue to reinforce the need to see the person, not the drug. It 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?
  • What are the implications of this research for treatments?
  • Is there a medication to treat methamphetamine addiction?



Dr Leonie Calver

Safe Use of Sedatives

Acute severe behavioural disturbance (ASBD) as a result of crystal methamphetamine use is an associated manifestation of illicit drug use that is commonly seen in emergency departments. This calls for an organised management approach, with sedation forming a large aspect. As such, this session aims to review the following:

  • What is ASBD?
  • How should we assess the sedative requirements of patients with ASBD relating to methamphetamine use?
  • What are the types, indications, routes, and considerations when using sedatives to manage ASBD?
  • What are the potential side effects of sedatives and how can these be averted?
  • How do sedatives fit into the wider picture of managing patients with ASBD?



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. Disdainfully viewing these people 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 while developing a therapeutic relationship
  • The principles used in a therapeutic environment
  • A look at Gestalt therapy and Narrative therapy as a way of healing


Day Two



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?


Geoff Ahern

“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 be a very tumultuous and difficult. 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 with different ages and demographics who are at different stages of use respond to interventions?
  • Practical advice on how to tailor interventions, appropriate referrals, and linking of services to the client’s stage of use to maximise engagement
  • How can we, as health professionals, manage our own frustration if our desire for action is not achieved?



Stuart Fenton

Resources, Referrals, and Rehabilitation – A Guide to Services

Well-informed nurses and other health professionals are positioned 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 New South Wales to assist you when caring for a person who uses ice or methamphetamines. It includes useful websites for future reference and an opportunity to ask questions.

  • Receive 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 them
  • Resources for families, friends, carers, teachers, and individuals
  • How are rehabilitation services in particular states accessed?


Dr David Outridge & Loraine Outridge

Local Spotlight – An Innovative Approach to Recovery

The Samaritans’ Community Amphetamine Treatment program is one example of a successful local program that provides an innovative service that is promoting recovery. This session will look at how this local service enables individuals who are experiencing an ice addiction to achieve recovery. Find out:

  • How does the Community Amphetamine Treatment program support local individuals to recover?
  • How does this program fit in with the wider Samaritans Recovery Point Program?
  • What are the principles of the Community Amphetamine Treatment program?
  • How can nurses, midwives, and other health professionals connect individuals with this community-based service?




Harm Reduction – Reducing Risks in Individuals with Problematic Stimulant Use

Harm reduction is a widely accepted and long-standing principle, tied into an overall harm minimisation approach. It 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 session will take you through a range of practical and effective strategies that can minimise the harm associated with problematic stimulant use. It includes:

  • What are the associated risks to physical, emotional, and sexual health that accompany problematic stimulant use?
  • What does a harm reduction approach look like in the context of problematic stimulant use?
  • What advice can be given and what supports can be encouraged or put in place to minimise these risks?



How Nurses Can Support Families and Concerned Others

The destructive impact of an ice or methamphetamine addiction is not contained to an individual. Parents, siblings, and family members that are connected to an individual are also under an enormous amount of pressure. This session will highlight the practical ways in which nurses and other health professionals can support parents, carers, and concerned others. It includes:

  • What is the carer or families’ perspective of an individual’s ice addiction?
  • How can supporting concerned others in turn help individuals?
  • What practical ways can nurses support parents, carers, and concerned others?



Geoff Ahern

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 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 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 can 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 and the community, and looks at 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


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 is a clinical psychotherapist and counsellor who has over ten years of experience working in the addiction treatment ... Read More

To Be Determined

To Be Determined


Leonie Calver

Leonie Calver

Dr Leonie Calver is a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Newcastle. Her clinical ... Read More

David Outridge

David Outridge

Dr David Outridge is a general practitioner with a special interest in addiction medicine. He works with his wife Loraine, ... Read More

Loraine Outridge

Loraine Outridge

Loraine is a Credentialed Mental Health Nurse and has qualifications in drug and alcohol, midwifery, sexual health, and welfare. She ...Read More

Breaking Point: Ice & Methamphetamine Conference
Speciality Classification
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Provider Type
11 hours
Start Date
End Date
11 hours
Brisbane City QLD 4000
$715.00 (two days)
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