Aims: To identify whether brief cognitive-behavioural interventions are feasible among regular users of amphetamine, to assess the effectiveness of intervention overall and to pilot two- and four-session interventions.
Design: Subjects were assigned randomly to individually receive a cognitive-behavioural intervention (n = 32) of either two or four sessions' duration or a self-help booklet (control condition; n = 32).
Setting: Subjects were volunteers recruited from needle exchange schemes and treatment centres in Newcastle, Australia.
Participants: Regular (at least monthly) users of amphetamine were recruited.
Intervention: Either four sessions of cognitive-behaviour therapy, consisting of a motivational interview and skills training in avoidance of high-risk situations, coping with craving and relapse prevention, or two sessions consisting of a motivational interview and discussion of skills.
Measurements: The Opiate Treatment Index was the main measure at pre-treatment and 6-month follow-up.
Findings: There was a significant reduction in amphetamine use among the sample as a whole, with inconclusive differences between intervention subgroups. There was a moderate overall intervention effect, with the intervention group reporting over twice the reduction in daily amphetamine use as the control group. Significantly more people in the cognitive-behavioural intervention condition abstained from amphetamine at 6-month follow-up compared to the control condition.
Conclusion: Brief cognitive-behavioural interventions appear feasible among regular users of amphetamine. A larger randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of such interventions appears warranted.