Breaking Point: Ice & Methamphetamine Conference
- : Cairns QLD 4870
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 impacts. Attend this conference to be informed about the evidence and the facts underpinning these drugs. Understand how recovery is possible. Topics include:
- A personal story of addiction and recovery
- What effects do ice and methamphetamines have on the body and the mind?
- Safety when dealing with people on ice
- Managing withdrawal and recovery
- Moving from denial to action - practical advice to tailor interventions
- How to support families and communities affected by ice
8:30AM REGISTRATION FOR DAY ONE
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 full blown 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?
Ice and Methamphetamines - What Type of Social Problem is This?
Ice and methamphetamine have become significant drugs of concern for nurses and other health professionals in recent years. These concerns are not just about health but also extend to personal protection and other significant social impacts. This session looks at the background issues that have enabled these drugs to take hold and considers evidence about their use. Finally, it discusses the importance of removing fear from the conversation if people are to be genuinely assisted with their addiction. Includes:
- Why is meth such an issue of concern?
- How extensive is its use in the community?
- Why are variations in purity so significant?
- What is the impact of the media on community perceptions and are they helpful?
11:00 MORNING TEA
Dr Digby Green
Shard, Meth, Crystal - Effects of Ice on the Body
There has never been a street drug quite like ice and methamphetamine. The physiological, social, emotional and community effects of this substance have been widely reported in the media. This session looks at the effect that ice and other stimulants have on the human body. Includes:
- What are meth and ice and how do they differ from other stimulants?
- How are they taken into the body and how does the body react?
- What are the physiological effects on the body?
- Cardiovascular and respiratory effects
- Renal, metabolic and fluid balance effects
- Changes to the skin and appearance
- Impact on normal homeostasis
- How does ice react to other substances - prescribed and non-prescribed?
Insights into the Psychological Effects of Ice and Methamphetamines
Ice/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 will looks at the types of mental health dysfunctions that result from this drug’s use. Includes:
- 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/meth trigger schizophrenia?
- When are people most at risk for developing feelings of depression?
1:30PM LUNCH BREAK AND NETWORKING
Dr Digby Green
Safe Use of Sedatives
Acute severe behavioural disturbance as a result of crystal methamphetamine use is an associated manifestation of illicit drug use commonly seen in emergency departments as well as the community. This calls for an organised management approach, with sedation forming a large aspect of this. As such, this session aims to review the following:
- Why are amphetamine-type substances a cause of such high agitation?
- Assessing sedative requirements in patients with acute severe behavioural disturbance relating to methamphetamine use
- Safety with sedatives - prescribing, administering and de-prescribing as per Guidelines
- Potential side effects of sedatives and how these may be averted
3:15 AFTERNOON TEA AND COFFEE
Safety When Dealing With People On Ice
The use of crystal methamphetamine may induce or increase aggression. While not all users are affected, they 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 behaviour in people that are escalated as a result of methamphetamine use. Includes:
- What are the physical cues that suggest someone may be affected by crystal methamphetamine (ICE)?
- How do you protect:
- The person
- The public
- How to de-escalate and defuse the situation
- Body language and personal safety to stay safe and reduce need for chemical and physical restraints
4:30 CLOSE OF DAY ONE OF PROGRAM
9:00AM COMMENCEMENT OF DAY TWO
First Thyself - Surviving Emotionally Taxing Work Environments
The intrinsic nature of drug and alcohol and mental health nursing will mean 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 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 can we maintain unconditional positive regard?
- Why self-care matters and how to practice what we preach!
Representative of Cairns Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs (ATODS), Indigenous Youth Alcohol & Other Drug Service
Supporting Families - The Impact of ‘Using’ on the Rural QLD Community
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. Nurses and other health professionals must be able to consider the family and community impacts of this drug when working with people affected by ice. As such, this session looks at:
- What is known about the psychosocial impact of ice and methamphetamine on families and the community?
- How is this drug affecting youth in the Indigenous populations of rural Queensland?
- What are practical ways in which you can help families break down communication barriers and discuss drug use openly?
- How can you assist families to access useful resources to help deal with the consequences that may arise as a result of the drug use?
11:00 MORNING TEA
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
“I’m not an Addict” - Moving from Denial to Action
The portrayal of ice/methamphetamine use in society can create a sense of denial about the possibility that recovery is possible. The psychology involved in making the decision to stop using drugs can be a very 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 with different ages, demographics and 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 to maximise engagement
- How can we as health professionals manage our own frustration if our desire for action is not achieved?
1:30PM LUNCH BREAK
Carmelita Almain and Gulliver Welch
Harm Reduction and Healing
Harm reduction is a widely accepted and long standing principle that 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 take you through a range of practical evidence-based strategies relating to harm reduction for those affected by ice and methamphetamine. 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 to establish a good professional relationship with a person who uses ice
- 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?
3:15 AFTERNOON TEA
New Psychoactive Drugs - What does the Future Hold?
There is now evidence that new psychoactive substances (NPS) are being rapidly produced. This involves the constant development of new chemicals to replace ones that are deemed illegal. The NPS mimic illicit drugs such as cannabis, speed and ice. However, their potency may be extreme - they are unregulated, untested and dangerous. This final session discusses the growth in their use in the community and suggests ways to counter their influence. Includes:
- What are these drugs?
- How big a problem are they?
- How to recognise when a person is affected by them?
- What damage can they do?
- What should nurses and frontline professionals do to counter their impact?
4:30 CLOSE OF DAY TWO OF PROGRAM
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 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 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/methamphetamine so as to create a safe environment for all concerned
Understand the ramifications of ice/methamphetamine use in the community and how to implement methods of harm reduction in your health setting
Know the principles of rehabilitation and recovery and apply evidence-based approaches to assist sustained abstinence
Refer people using ice/methamphetamine appropriately and align your healthcare with Statewide strategies
Stuart Fenton is a Gestalt therapist and counsellor and also a recovered drug addict whose primary drug of choice was ... Read More
Karen-Ann Clarke is a Registered General and Mental Health Nurse. She has a Master's degree in Mental Health Nursing and ... Read More
Dr Digby Green is an Emergency Physician and Co-director of Emergency Medical Training at Cairns Hospital. He has a special ... Read More
Gabrielle Gill is an experienced mental health nurse currently working for the Acute Care Team in the Emergency Department setting. ... Read More
Paul McNamara has extensive experience providing clinical and educative mental health support in general hospital and community clinical settings. He ... Read More
Representative of ATODS Cairns, Indigenous Youth Alcohol & Other Drug Service
ATODS Cairbs Indigenous Youth Alcohol & Other Drug Service (IYAOD) provides services to deliver alcohol, tobacco and substance misuse harm ... Read More
Morag Goodinson is an experienced mental health nurse who is an endorsed Nurse Practitioner in the Alcohol and Drug Field. ... Read More
Carmelita Almain has been a health practitioner with Queensland Health for 18 years. She currently manages the ATODS Needle ... Read More
Gulliver Welch is a program officer at the ATODS Needle and Syringe program in Cairns. He has a passion ... Read More
To Be Determined