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NCCRED Clinical Research Seed Funding

BeSMART: feasibility and preliminary efficacy of an intervention for family members impacted by methamphetamine

Amount awarded: $61,342.00

Principal Investigator: A/Prof Peter Kelly, University of Wollongong.

BeSMART: feasibility and preliminary efficacy of an intervention for family members impacted by methamphetamine

Amount awarded: $61,342.00

Principal Investigator: A/Prof Peter Kelly, University of Wollongong.

Methamphetamine (“ice”) use has an enormous impact on families and supporters. It is common for family members to report a range of emotional, physical, social and financial harms associated with the substance use problems of a loved one. Improving the way that our health system responds to the needs of families has been highlighted as a key feature of across multiple State and National alcohol and other drug treatment action plans. For example, ‘Helping Families’ is the first strategy identified in the Victorian Ice Action Plan.

The proposed project will examine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of BeSMART for family members, friends and supporters impacted by methamphetamine use. Be SMART is intended to assist anyone affected by the addictive behaviour of someone close to them. BeSMART is an 8-module mutual aid group program developed by SMART Recovery Australia. The program was developed 10 years ago, based on SMART’s (Self-Management and Recovery Training) 4-point program, a strengths-based mutual aid program for people struggling with problem behaviours of all kinds. To ensure that it is reflective of both current theoretical and empirical evidence, and to meet SMART’s core objective of enabling self-management, the program was recently revised, based on the Stress-Strain-Coping-Support Model of Addiction and Family. The proposed project will achieve the first formal evaluation of the program.

The proposed project will be delivered in partnership between SMART Recovery Australia (led by CI Argent) and the broader research team (led by CI Kelly). It will be conducted as a pre/post feasibility and preliminary efficacy study. Family members will be recruited from Victoria, New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland using online advertising (SMART Recovery Australia website, social media). They will be invited to participate in the 2-day BeSMART program (5 groups, N = 50). Follow-up assessments will be collected at 1-week and 1-month following group completion. The primary outcome will be study feasibility (i.e. recruitment and participation rates, fidelity, satisfaction and follow-up rates). The secondary outcome will be preliminary efficacy (i.e. stress, strain, coping, and social support). If results of the evaluation are promising, we will use these data to help secure future funding to conduct a full-scale RCT of the BeSMART intervention. This will help to ensure that families in Australia will have access to evidence-based approaches.

A major strength of the proposed project is that it is highly translatable. SMART Recovery Australia is a not-for-profit, non-government organisation (NGO), whose vision focuses on ensuring that all Australians have access to mutual support programs. SMART Recovery Australia has been tremendously successful in disseminating their flagship program, SMART Recovery, throughout Australia (over 330 weekly groups in Australia). Should BeSMART prove to be feasible and effective, SMART Recovery Australia will use the same dissemination strategy for BeSMART.

A/Prof Peter Kelly, Chief Investigator

University of Wollongong, School of Psychology

Dr Briony Larance, Co-Investigator

University of Wollongong

Prof Amanda Baker, Co-Investigator

University of Newcastle

A/Prof Victoria Manning, Co-Investigator

Monash University and Turning Point, Monash Addiction Research centre (MARC)

Dr Angela Argent, Co-Investigator

Smart Recovery Australia

Dr Allison Beck, Co-Investigator

University of Wollongong

A/Prof Brian Hitsman, Co-Investigator

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Prof Frank Deane, Co-Investigator

University of Wollongong

Prof Leanne Hides, Co-Investigator

University of Queensland

Prof Anthony Shakeshaft, Co-Investigator


Prof Richard Velleman, Co-Investigator

Emeritus Professor of Mental Health Research, University of Bath, UK

Gill Velleman, Co-Investigator

Bath Spa University, UK