Like all stimulants, users talk about amphetamines such as speed and crystal giving them an intense high, but as we all know, what goes up has to come down. Anyone who has used amphetamines, particularly those who have used the more pure forms of the drug such as crystal, will tell you that the lows with this drug appear almost bottomless. If anyone is considering using this drug they should be well aware of the effect that this drug can have on mood.

Many people taking the drug for the first time say that they felt unprepared for the strength of the experience. The GLBT community has been one of the worst affected by the amphetamine issue over the past few years. A range of health-care workers who deal with our community have expressed concern about the mental health problems these drugs appear to have contributed to.

In response to the high rates of depression among regular amphetamine users researchers at the University of NSW and the University of Newcastle have launched the Steps Through Amphetamines project. The project will examine the feasibility and effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) in the treatment of comorbid amphetamine use and depression. CBT focuses on helping individuals understand and manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviours and has been shown to be effective in treating a range of difficulties.

Researchers on the project are currently looking for individuals who regularly use amphetamines (speed, base, ice, or meth) and are experiencing symptoms of depression (e.g. feeling down, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating). Anyone who fits this description and would like to participate in free individual treatment is encouraged to contact the Steps Through Amphetamines Team.

Participation in the program involves an initial assessment followed by 13 sessions of CBT focussing on reducing amphetamine use and improving symptoms of depression. Participants will also be asked to complete a review session every 5 weeks to assess how well they feel the treatment is progressing, relative to their wants and needs. Sessions run for an hour a week at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre based at Randwick and are with a psychologist.

If you would like to find out more about the project please phone Kate on 9385-0255 or Erin on 9385-0243.

Remember: If you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and no matter how many times you have used a substance – never be blase!

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