Cracks in the Ice – an online toolkit developed to support Australian families, health workers and communities affected by crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’)

Ms Felicity Duong1, Dr Steph Kershaw1, Dr Louise Birrell1, Dr Katrina Champion1, Ms  Hannah Deen1, Ms Anna Grager1, Associate Professor Lexine Stapinski1, Associate Professor Nicola Newton1, Honorary Professor Frances Kay-Lambkin1,2, Professor Maree Teesson1, Associate Professor Cath Chapman1

1The Matilda Centre For Research In Mental Health And Substance Use, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 2The Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research, the University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia

Cracks in the Ice (CITI: cracksintheice.org.au) is a digital public health initiative that was developed in response to recommendations from the Australian Government’s National Ice Taskforce. CITI is the first centralised national online portal for evidence-based information and resources about crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’) in Australia. It provides targeted information and resources for health workers, people who use ice, their family and friends, community groups and schools. A companion offline-compatible smartphone application (‘app’) was developed to better reach remote communities with unreliable internet access.

CITI was developed collaboratively with input from drug and alcohol experts, web developers and over 500 Australian community members including people with lived experience. An initial online survey was conducted with end-users to understand information needs about ice, followed by feedback on a beta-version of the CITI website. The smartphone app was similarly co-developed with the community.

Since launch, the toolkit has had >614,000 unique website users (>54,000 users from regional, rural and remote communities in Australia). Qualitative feedback from members of the Australian community has been positive. Since the release of the CITI smartphone app in January 2018, there have been >6,200 clicks to download it.

Digital public health initiatives stand to overcome structural, geographical, and attitudinal barriers to alcohol and other drug (AOD) prevention efforts. CITI ensures evidence-based information about the drug ice is readily available across all of Australia. Both the toolkit and the app will be of interest to allied health providers, community members, researchers and policy makers.


Biography:

Felicity Duong is a Research Promotions Officer at the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use. Felicity is responsible for the promotion and dissemination activities for Cracks in the Ice; a digital health initiative that is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and focusses on disseminating evidence-based information and resources about crystal methamphetamine in Australia via an online toolkit and mobile app.

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