The results of an observational study looking at methamphetamine-related injury presentations to QLD emergency departments from 2005-2017

Mrs Rikki Jones1, Dr Cindy Woods1, Professor Kim Usher1

1University Of New England, Armidale, Australia

Methamphetamines or “ICE” has been receiving a lot of media attention in recent years despite an overall decrease in use of methamphetamine in Australian. This presentation will present the results of a descriptive observational study analysing Emergency Department (ED) injury surveillance data sourced from Queensland injury surveillance unit (QISU) from 2005-2017. Descriptive statistics were used to identify patterns and features of presentations related to methamphetamines. Results: 250 presentations were documented as methamphetamine-related. 92.8% (n = 232) of all methamphetamine-related presentations presented between 2014-2017; 84.4% (n = 211) of methamphetamine-related presentations were allocated a triage score of 1, 2 or 3; 14.8%  (n = 37) of all methamphetamine-related presentations required police involvement; and 15.6% (n = 39) exhibited behaviour that was either, agitated, aggressive or violent in nature. Conclusion: Methamphetamine-related presentations to ED have a high acuity and often require other emergency resources, police and ambulance. There is a need to develop policy for managing aggressive and agitated people presenting to EDs as a result of methamphetamine use and to further explore the experience of emergency personnel (police and ambulance) managing persons under the influence of methamphetamines.


Rikki is a lecturer in Nursing at the University of New England (UNE), currently studying a Doctorate of Philosophy- nursing. Rikki’s research focuses on emergency care and drug & alcohol. Rikki completed her BN at UNE in 2001 undertaking a post graduate year at Tamworth. Rikki spent several years working in community health and primary health care before spending the next 10 years working mostly in the emergency department and theatres of rural hospitals and MPS facilities. She has a broad range of experience in emergency nursing, community health, and rural and remote nursing.