Drug to re­duce crav­ing tri­alled

Med­i­ca­tion hope for ice ad­dicts

Canning Times - - NEWS - Jaime Shurmer

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.

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