Drug to reduce craving trialled
Medication hope for ice addicts
A MEDICATION to reduce cravings for crystal meth is being trialled in some eastern states in a study led by Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute.
Known as the N-ICE trial, it will test to see if NAcetyl Cysteine (NAC) can help people who are dependent on ice to help reduce their cravings and stop using the substance.
The trial is a world-first and frontline clinical services in Wollongong, Geelong and Melbourne are taking part.
Lead researcher and NDRI Associate Professor Rebecca McKetin said previous studies showed NAC could reduce cravings for methamphetamine and other substances including cocaine, cannabis and tobacco.
NAC is one of a new generation of medications
NAC helps to reduce cravings by restoring the balance of chemicals in the brain
being trialled for addiction.
“NAC helps to reduce cravings by restoring the balance of chemicals in the brain that are involved in craving and drug-seeking, making it easier for people to manage their desire for the drug,” Ms McKetin said.
WA was not included in the trial because Ms McKetin was working at the Australian National University when she sought funding for the trial and a last-minute effort to include her new location did not succeed.
“There are only 180 people in the trial and we’ll be waiting for the results to see if we can do something bigger,” she said.
“The results will be relevant to WA anyway.”.
Despite a steady decline in the use of amphetamines in Australia over the past decade, there has an increase in the use of high purity crystalline methamphetamine, with about 1 per cent of people aged 14 and over reported to have used it in the last year.
Ice carries a higher risk of addiction than other amphetamines and nationally there were nearly 50,000 presentations for treatment services in the 2016-17 financial year.
There is currently no approved medication to help those who are addicted reduce their use.
A website has been set up for people interested in the N-ICE Trial at www.nicetrial.info.