Ice and the outback: Patterns and prevalence of methamphetamine use in rural Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study investigated whether lifetime and recent methamphetamine use (including crystal methamphetamine) differed among city, regional and rural residents and whether particular subpopulations were more at-risk. Design: Secondary analyses of the last three National Drug Strategy Household Surveys and corresponding Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Sets (AODTS NMDS). Setting: Australian general population. Participants: Australians who completed the 2007 (n = 22 519), 2010 (n = 25 786) and 2013 (n = 23 512) NDSHS (aged 14 +); and treatment episodes where the principal drug of concern was recorded in the 2006/2007 (n = 139 808), 2009/2010 (n = 139 608) and 2012/2013 (n = 154 489) AODTS NMDS. Main outcome measure(s): To determine whether rural Australians were more likely to use methamphetamine than non-rural counterparts. Results: Lifetime and recent methamphetamine and recent crystal methamphetamine use were significantly higher among rural than other Australians. Significantly more rural men and employed rural Australians used methamphetamine than their city, regional or Australian counterparts. Rural Australians aged 18–24 and 25–29 years were significantly more likely to have used methamphetamine in their lifetime than city or Australian residents. Rural Australians aged 18–24 years were significantly more likely to have recently used crystal methamphetamine. Conclusions: Interventions tailored to address the specific and unique circumstances of rural settings are required to reduce and prevent methamphetamine use, particularly crystal methamphetamine. Scope exists to focus prevention efforts on rural workplaces and primary care settings. Greater understanding of the higher prevalence of methamphetamine use in rural areas is required, plus implementation of comprehensive strategies and optimised treatment utilisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-209
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • crystal methamphetamine
  • drug treatment
  • drug use
  • ice
  • methamphetamine
  • rural


Dive into the research topics of 'Ice and the outback: Patterns and prevalence of methamphetamine use in rural Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this