Responding to Ice

Ice (also known as ‘shard’) is a strong form of the drug methamphetamine. In partnership with Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) in Mildura, Onemda has been conducting research to gain a better understanding of the impact of ice on Aboriginal people and to identify what can be done to support communities in tackling its misuse. The project team is made up of Sarah MacLean and Kerry Arabena from Onemda, and Ross Hensgen and Rae Stephens from MDAS.

One of the clear findings so far is that people want to hear hopeful stories of Aboriginal people who have successfully stopped using ice, so we have developed a short film – 'Healing from Ice in Victorian Aboriginal Communities' – shot in Mildura and Melbourne in partnership with Caden Pearson (Iron Gate Films) that includes interviews with a worker and ex-ice user. 

Follow the link to watch the 'Healing from Ice in Victorian Aboriginal communities' video


These stories are also contained in the community report Supporting the Mildura Aboriginal Community’s Response to Ice Use, which will be launched on 21 September in Mildura, following community approval. It examines the impact of ice with a focus on the Mildura Aboriginal community, and comes up with recommendations and opportunities for prevention and intervention. Printed copies will be available from Onemda by emailing, or it can be downloaded here following the launch [PDF 3.5MB].



In addition, we have produced a range of community education resources, treatment guidelines and other information that could be useful for Aboriginal ice users, their families and people working with them.


Photo from newspaper of researchers

 We also want to contribute more peer-reviewed articles such as our literature review on primary health responses to ice use in Aboriginal communities published in electronic form in February (S. MacLean, A. Harney & K. Arabena 2015, ‘Primary health-care responses to methamphetamine use in Australian Indigenous communities’, Australian Journal of Primary Health. And the research has been reported in the Sunraysia Daily newspaper, on Thursday, 11 June 2015. You can read the article by clicking on the image to the left.

Dr. Sarah MacLean's recently published article in The Drum, titled 'Ice Addiction: Let's stop the scare tactics and tell stories of recovery' can be viewed here.


The next stage of the project is to produce a report for services and government departments that fund programs to tackle ice use. The report will be based on interviews with Aboriginal people who use or have used ice, family members of Aboriginal ice users and professionals who work with these groups.

If you would like to know more about our work in this area, contact Sarah on E: or T: 03 9035 3114.

This research is funded by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne, and the short film by the Becher Foundation. Sarah MacLean’s work is supported by a fellowship from VicHealth.

ICE Information session: Everything you need to know

The report on ice use in a Victorian Aboriginal community and a short film about ice use will be launched on Monday 21 September in Mildura.