Rise in Meth Use Among Urban Black MSM

As reported in the New York Times in June 2015, addiction treatment providers in New York have seen a rise among black and Hispanic men who have sex with men (MSM) in the use of the “club” or “party” drug “crystal meth” (methamphetamine hydrochloride, a more potent and more dangerous form of amphetamine, known by a variety of street names, including “Tina,” “poor man’s cocaine,” “crystal,” and “ice”).

Previously associated with white, affluent urban gay men, as well as the rural poor regardless of sexual orientation, crystal meth’s allure was tarnished in recent years by its association with serious health risks, including a increased probability of engaging in unprotected sex while using the drug.

Crystal meth induces euphoria, lowers inhibitions, and delays ejaculation in men, thus it has come to be used in “party and play” (PNP) sex, sometimes for extended periods of time.

However, it can also cause mood changes and longstanding brain changes, as well as cardio-vascular effects. Its euphoria makes users more inclined to engage in risky sexual behavior that may lead to HIV infection, and those already HIV infected are particularly vulnerable to its neurological changes. More information here: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine

Many of New York’s men of color are caught up in the intersection of race, ethnicity, and socio-economic class, as well as sexual orientation. They may be more likely to have been ostracized by their families and churches, to be targets of violence, and to be less stably employed.

The Times article features the work of the health organization Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD): http://www.gmad.org/

The article by Mosi Secret can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/nyregion/meth-finds-a-new-market-in-new-york.html

About Thomas Lawrence Long

Associate professor-in-residence, School of Nursing, University of Connecticut; editor and writing coach
This entry was posted in Mental Health, News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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