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Recent warnings of a rise in crystal methamphetamine (“ice”) use in rural and remote Indigenous Australian communities should be heeded

Alan R Clough, Michelle Fitts and Jan Robertson
Med J Aust 2015; 203 (1): 19. || doi: 10.5694/mja15.00066

To the Editor: Recent surveys indicate growing disquiet among health professionals nationally about the use of “ice” in some Indigenous communities,1 but with no clear evidence, as yet, of a feared general surge in its use.

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  • Alan R Clough
  • Michelle Fitts
  • Jan Robertson

  • Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD.

Correspondence: Alan.Clough@jcu.edu.au

Acknowledgements: 

This research is supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, project grant 1042532. Additional support was provided by the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute-funded Centre for Research Excellence for the Prevention of Chronic Conditions in Rural and Remote High Risk Populations at James Cook University and the University of Adelaide. The information and opinions in this letter do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute or the Australian Government Department of Health. We thank the individuals working in key drug and alcohol services, enforcement and justice, mental health, community-controlled and government health services and Indigenous support agencies who provided constructive comments on early responses to the problem before the final version of this letter was submitted.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. NIDAC/NACCHO online consultation: amphetamine-type stimulants use. August 2014.
  • 2. Bohanna I, Clough AR. Cannabis use in Cape York Indigenous communities: high prevalence, mental health impacts and the desire to quit. Drug Alcohol Rev 2012; 31: 580-584.
  • 3. Lee KS, Conigrave KM, Patton GC, Clough AR. Cannabis use in remote Indigenous communities in Australia: endemic yet neglected. Med J Aust 2009; 190: 228-229. <MJA full text>
  • 4. Lee KS, Conigrave KM, Clough AR, et al. Five-year longitudinal study of cannabis users in three remote Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. Drug Alcohol Rev 2009; 28: 623-630.
  • 5. Clough AR, Cairney SJ, Maruff P, Parker RM. Rising cannabis use in indigenous communities. Med J Aust 2002; 177: 395-396. <MJA full text>

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