A web-based therapeutic program (We Can Do This) for reducing methamphetamine use and increasing help-seeking among aboriginal and torres strait islander people: Protocol for a randomized wait-list controlled trial

Rachel Reilly, Rebecca McKetin, Handan Wand, Julia Butt, Matthew Smout, Nadine Ezard, Katherine Conigrave, Yvonne Clark, Brendan Quinn, Carla Treloar, Dennis Gray, Adrian Dunlop, Yvette Roe, James Ward

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Abstract

Background: Methamphetamine use is of deep concern to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, but access to culturally appropriate treatment resources and services is limited. Web-based programs have potential as flexible and cost-effective additions to the range of treatment options available to Aboriginal people. The We Can Do This online intervention is designed to incorporate evidence-based therapies in a culturally relevant format using narratives from Aboriginal people to contextualize the therapeutic content.

Objective: The goal of the research will be to test the effectiveness of the online intervention in a wait-list controlled randomized trial across multiple sites in urban, regional, and remote locations.

Methods: Participants will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 years and over who have used methamphetamine at least weekly for the previous 3 months. They will be recruited online and via health services. During the intervention phase, participants will have access to the online intervention for 6 weeks with optional telephone or face-to-face support provided by participating health services. The primary outcome measure will be the number of days the participant used methamphetamine over the past 4 weeks compared to wait-list controls, assessed at baseline, 1, 2, and 3 months. Secondary outcomes will include help-seeking, readiness to change, severity of dependence, and psychological distress. Any important changes to the protocol will be agreed upon by the trial management committee and communicated to all relevant parties, including trial site representatives and the trial registry.

Results: Recruitment will commence in July 2019, and results are expected in early 2021. This research is funded by National Health and Medical Research Council project grant #1100696. The primary sponsor for the trial is the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. A trial management committee with representation from the participating health services, chief investigators, other Aboriginal experts, and consumers will oversee procedures, trial conduct, analysis, and reporting of the results.

Conclusions: The trial of this online intervention builds on existing research supporting the effectiveness of Web-based therapies for a range of psychological and other health-related issues including substance use. If successful, the We Can Do this online intervention will increase the range of options available to Aboriginal people seeking to reduce or stop methamphetamine use. It may provide a pathway into treatment for people who may otherwise be disengaged with health services for a range of reasons and will be a culturally appropriate, evidence-based resource for health practitioners to offer their clients.

Trial Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12619000134123p; https://www.anzctr.org.au/ Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=376088&isReview=true

International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): PRR1-10.2196/14084

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14084
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume8
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

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