There’s no doubt Crystal Methamphetamine, also known as ‘ice’ is bad news. We all seem to know this, and yet there are people desperate enough for the high it brings to disregard all the other negative effects that go with it.
The havoc that this illegal substance wreaks is definitely widespread, but it seems to have grown to epidemic magnitude in the LGBT community. And every week in my practice I am hearing of the devastating impact of Crystal Meth addiction with my gay clients and gay relationships.
You would wish it were a mere sweeping statement, but reports demonstrate that crystal meth addiction is particularly prevalent in the gay community and contributing to poor mental health. It has brought tragedy in many cases and will continue to do so unless concrete and consistent action is taken. Indeed, many activists are seeking to bring awareness and resolution to the problem.
Before you can stop Crystal Meth in its mad path to claim as many lives as it can, you need to understand the reasons why and how this particular substance dependence is trifling with the lives of so many LGBT folks.
- Crystal Meth use leads to hallucinations and extremely erratic behaviour, which includes the propensity for suicide. Meth addiction in itself is somewhat like a slow suicide. The person you really are disappears; no matter how sweet, smart, charming, or talented you are, crystal meth turns you into a stark raving lunatic – lying, manipulative, secretive, and paranoid.
- Crystal Meth bears a key role in the Party and Play culture prevalent in the LGBT scene. Much cheaper than feel-good Ecstasy, it has taken over as the party drug. It goes hand-in-hand with sex, often taken with Viagra or Cialis, which counters the sometimes impotence side effects of Crystal Meth for gay men. It is also always readily available in circuit parties and sex parties, its use, often accompanied by unsafe sex practices. This lends users vulnerable to the infection of HIV and other STIs. Ironically, many HIV-positive gay or bisexual people find themselves dying, not of AIDS, but of Crystal Meth addiction.
- Crystal Meth plays on the background of oppression, ostracism, and shame of many gay folks and their desperate craving for acceptance. Partying is predicated on rejection and the drug counters all the negative sentiments by making users feel attractive and confident, easing their fears and numbing their feelings. Crystal Meth is a powerful tool in cognitive escapism, hence its appeal to the LGBT crowd.
- Crystal speedballs have become increasingly popular. Meth is used in combo with heroin and other drugs. GHB, a sedative, is another drug commonly used in conjunction with Crystal Meth. High and awake, users already lend themselves vulnerable, but passed out in public, they really invite bad things to happen to them.
- Meth’s cheaper than other drugs. At the end of the day, part of the addiction story is really all about money. Dealers, club owners, party organisers know they guarantee profits by feeding the addiction. They are vultures preying on the slow suicide of Crystal Meth-using LGBT community members.
- Crystal Meth is more available than any other time. It is much easier to manufacture and doesn’t require the coca or poppy plants to make. There are also different kinds available from different sources. When there’s a crackdown on local labs, the Chinese, Russian, Mexican, and many other cartels are always happy to step in.
- Meth is highly addictive. All the blame can’t be pinned on the pushers, though. Meth users know the consequences of their dependence, but not only do they crave the high, they’re also fearful of the hell that detox can be. Consequently, they are willing to brave the slow death that is Crystal Meth addiction, but not the agonising long-term gain of detox.
If you have a problem with Crystal Meth dependence, there are a number of organisations that can help: