Gaps in the ice: Methamphetamine in Australia; its history, treatment and ramifications for users and their families
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing
School of Nursing and Midwifery
It is now well‐established that Australia has a significant issue with methamphetamine. Recent dramatic changes in manufacturing have led to significant shifts in both the patterns of use and the relative purity of this illicit drug, with the crystalline form of methamphetamine commonly referred to as ‘ice’. Excessive use not only impacts on those taking the drug, but also takes a heavy toll on their families. With few effective treatment options currently available, there is a strong focus on developing replacement pharmacotherapies and examining the efficacy of outpatient counselling and residential treatment options. Recent research in addiction care supports the positive impact that families of users can have on both treatment and recovery for their loved ones. Despite this recognition, there is little current research looking at the experiences of families of users of the uniquely problematic drug methamphetamine. This paper outlines the historical narrative that has led to the current worldwide phenomenon of ice use and explores contemporary directions of research into its impact and potential treatments. In doing so, it outlines the relatively unexplored impact of ice on families and highlights a current need for nursing research into their experiences living with loved ones using the drug.