Breakingtheice: A protocol for a randomised controlled trial of an internet-based intervention addressing amphetamine-type stimulant use
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Background: The prevalence of amphetamine-type stimulant use is greater than that of opioids and cocaine combined. Currently, there are no approved pharmacotherapy treatments for amphetamine-type stimulant problems, but some face-to-face psychotherapies are of demonstrated effectiveness. However, most treatment services focus on alcohol or opioid disorders, have limited reach and may not appeal to users of amphetamine-type stimulants. Internet interventions have proven to be effective for some substance use problems but none has specifically targeted users of amphetamine-type stimulants. Design/method: The study will use a randomized controlled trial design to evaluate the effect of an internet intervention for amphetamine-type stimulant problems compared with a waitlist control group. The primary outcome will be assessed as amphetamine-type stimulant use (baseline, 3 and 6 months). Other outcomes measures will include ‘readiness to change’, quality of life, psychological distress (K-10 score), days out of role, poly-drug use, help-seeking intention and help-seeking behavior. The intervention consists of three modules requiring an estimated total completion time of 90 minutes. The content of the modules was adapted from face-to-face clinical techniques based on cognitive behavior therapy and motivation enhancement. The target sample is 160 men and women aged 18 and over who have used amphetamine-type stimulants in the last 3 months. Discussion: To our knowledge this will be the first randomized controlled trial of an internet intervention specifically developed for users of amphetamine-type stimulants. If successful, the intervention will offer greater reach than conventional therapies and may engage clients who do not generally seek treatment from existing service providers.
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