Determining the feasibility and efficacy of Goal Management Training for improving treatment retention and outcomes during residential treatment for methamphetamine dependence

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

A critical limitation of current treatment approaches for methamphetamine addiction is that they do not address cognitive deficits in executive functions. We have shown these cognitive deficits hamper the ability to maintain abstinence after treatment (Rubenis, ..., Lubman, Verdejo-Garcia 2019). Goal Management Training (GMT) is a group-based cognitive remediation intervention for executive dysfunction (i.e. impulsivity, working memory and decision-making deficits). Proof of concept studies that the Project Lead (Verdejo-Garcia) conducted in Europe have shown that GMT improves cognition in stimulant (cocaine/amphetamine) users. However, we do not know if GMT is a feasible intervention in the context of methamphetamine treatment in Australia, or if it can improve clinical outcomes such as abstinence rates.
This proposal brings together a team of world-leading experts in addiction neuroscience (Verdejo-Garcia, Lubman) and frontline clinicians (Allan) to examine whether GMT is feasible and well-accepted by methamphetamine users in Australian public treatment and rehabilitation centres, and if it reduces relapse rates after treatment discharge. We will conduct an exploratory randomised controlled trial to test the feasibility/ acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a 4-week GMT protocol versus a control psychoeducation intervention. We have developed the 4-week GMT protocol (which is shorter and contains more tailored materials than standard GMT) to cater the specific needs of methamphetamine users (e.g. making long-term [vs reward] based decisions). The primary outcomes will be: proportion of GMT completions; participants’ assessments of acceptability, engagement and benefit; and rates of abstinence four weeks post-discharge measured with hair toxicology.
The findings of this study will be readily translated into standard practice. If the trial is successful, we will train clinicians at Odyssey House to administer GMT as part of the standard program. In addition, we will apply for NHMRC/MRFF funding to conduct a definitive Phase III RCT with the ultimate goal of scaling up the intervention to treatment centres across Australia.
Short titleTraining for Meth Addiction
Effective start/end date5/03/20 → 1/04/21


  • National Centre for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs: AUD94,369.00