Publications & Reports

TreatMethHarm: An agent-based simulation of how people who use methamphetamine access treatment.

Lamy F, Quinn B, Dwyer R, Thomson N, Moore D, Dietze P


: Methamphetamine use in Australia has recently attracted considerable attention due to increased human and social costs. Despite evidences indicating increasing methamphetamine-related harm and significant numbers of frequent and dependent users, methamphetamine treatment coverage remains low in Australia. This paper aims to investigate the complex interplay between methamphetamine use and treatment-related access by designing an agent-based model, using epidemiological data and expert-derived assumptions. This paper presents the architecture and core mechanisms of an agent-based model, TreatMethHarm, and details the results of model calibration performed by testing the key model parameters. At this stage of development, TreatMethHarm is able to produce proportions of methamphetamine users that replicate those produced by our epidemiological survey. However, this agent-based model still requires additional information and further tests before validation. TreatMethHarm provides a useful tool to elicit dialogue between researchers from different disciplines, integrate a variety of data and identify missing information.

Link to publisher’s web site

The research reported in this paper was funded by NHMRC Project Grant 479208. The National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution to this work of the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program, the staff from Burnet Institute who assisted with the recruitment of the participants (especially, Cerissa Papanastasiou), Professor Pascal Perez and Georgiy Bobashev for their advices, as well as all the participants of this survey.


  • VMAX: Understanding meth use in Victoria
    To help us better understand what is happening in the community with meth use, Burnet is undertaking this study of 800 people who use meth n Melbourne and regional Victoria.


  • Journal: The Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
  • Published: 31/03/2016
  • Volume: 19
  • Issue: 2
  • Pagination: 3