Families can play key role in overcoming meth epidemic, according to Edith Cowan University discussion paper

Stock image.
Stock image.

FAMILIES are falling through the gap in research into the ice epidemic.

A new Edith Cowan University discussion paper has called for more research into how methamphetamine addiction affects the families of users and their role in treatment.

“The average purity of methamphetamine has increased significantly in recent years, meaning users get higher concentrations of the drug in their system with a greater risk of physical and psychological harm,” lead author and ECU School of Nursing and Midwifery researcher Douglas Greg Gordon said.

“Living with someone who uses methamphetamine can have a devastating impact on families, but families may also be an untapped resource that can help in the treatment process of users.”

Mr Gordon said there was evidence that the possibility of reconnecting with their family can be a strong motivation for change in people who use methamphetamine.

“If we can better understand the experiences of families of methamphetamine users we can hopefully learn how to better support them while also opening up new avenues for interventions to overcome addiction.”

The researchers are planning an exploratory study that will work with family members who live with an ice user to gain an understanding of their experiences.

Gaps in the ice: Methamphetamine in Australia; its history, treatment, and ramifications for users and their families is published today, June 5 in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.