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Breakingtheice: A protocol for a randomised controlled trial of an internet-based intervention addressing amphetamine-type stimulant use

Robert J Tait1*, Rebecca McKetin12, Frances Kay-Lambkin3, Kylie Bennett1, Ada Tam1, Anthony Bennett1, Jenny Geddes4, Adam Garrick1, Helen Christensen15 and Kathleen M Griffiths1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

2 Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Australian National University, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

3 National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia

4 Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

5 Black Dog Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia

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BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:67  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-67

Published: 25 June 2012



The prevalence of amphetamine-type stimulant use is greater than that of opioids and cocaine combined. Currently, there are no approved pharmacotherapy treatments for amphetamine-type stimulant problems, but some face-to-face psychotherapies are of demonstrated effectiveness. However, most treatment services focus on alcohol or opioid disorders, have limited reach and may not appeal to users of amphetamine-type stimulants. Internet interventions have proven to be effective for some substance use problems but none has specifically targeted users of amphetamine-type stimulants.


The study will use a randomized controlled trial design to evaluate the effect of an internet intervention for amphetamine-type stimulant problems compared with a waitlist control group. The primary outcome will be assessed as amphetamine-type stimulant use (baseline, 3 and 6 months). Other outcomes measures will include ‘readiness to change’, quality of life, psychological distress (K-10 score), days out of role, poly-drug use, help-seeking intention and help-seeking behavior. The intervention consists of three modules requiring an estimated total completion time of 90 minutes. The content of the modules was adapted from face-to-face clinical techniques based on cognitive behavior therapy and motivation enhancement. The target sample is 160 men and women aged 18 and over who have used amphetamine-type stimulants in the last 3 months.


To our knowledge this will be the first randomized controlled trial of an internet intervention specifically developed for users of amphetamine-type stimulants. If successful, the intervention will offer greater reach than conventional therapies and may engage clients who do not generally seek treatment from existing service providers.

Trial registration

Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ( webcite) ACTRN12611000947909

Amphetamine related disorders; Internet; World wide web; Randomized control trial; Cognitive therapy