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Methamphetamine use, dependence and treatment access in rural and regional North Coast of New South Wales, Australia

Authors


Cate Wallace BA (Psych and Education) MPH, Grad Dip Applied Epidemiology, Trainee Public Health Officer, Public Health Training and Development Branch, New South Wales Department of Health, North Sydney, NSW, Australia, Tony Galloway RN, Nurse Unit Manager, Drug and Alcohol Services, North Coast Area Health Service, Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia, Rebecca McKetin BSc Psych (Hons), PhD, Senior Research Fellow, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Randwick, NSW, Australia, Erin Kelly BSc Psych (Hons), Research Officer, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Randwick, NSW, Australia, John Leary BA ADCHN, CPN, AFCHSE Area Manager, Drug and Alcohol Services, North Coast Area Health Service, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia. Ms Cate Wallace, Public Health Training and Development Branch, New South Wales Department of Health, LMB 961, North Sydney, NSW 2059, Australia. Tel: +(02) 9391 9204; Fax: +(02) 9391 9232; E-mail: cawal@doh.health.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

Introduction and Aims. To identify the sociodemographic, health, drug use patterns, treatment coverage and barriers to treatment among regular methamphetamine users in rural and regional North Coast of New South Wales. Design and Methods. A structured questionnaire was used to measure sociodemographic factors, health and well-being, drug use patterns, methamphetamine dependence, engagement in methamphetamine treatment and barriers to treatment. Participants were 140 regular methamphetamine users. Dependent and non-dependent participants were compared to identify factors associated with dependence. Results. Participants were predominantly in their thirties, male and had low levels of education, high levels of unemployment and polydrug use. Participants who were dependent on methamphetamine (59%) were more likely to report impaired mental health and to have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and drug-induced psychosis. One quarter of dependent methamphetamine users had received treatment in the last year and half had ever received treatment. The main barriers to receiving treatment were a lack of perceived need or motivation to seek treatment and concerns about confidentiality. Discussion and Conclusions. Methamphetamine users living on the North Coast of New South Wales require treatment options tailored to address a complex array of physical and psychological problems. The findings highlight the need for psychiatric support and improved coordination between mental health and drug and alcohol services in rural and regional areas.[Wallace C, Galloway T, McKetin R, Kelly E, Leary J. Methamphetamine use, dependence and treatment access in rural and regional North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Drug Alcohol Rev 2009]

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