No sooner had POZ Magazine editor Oriol Gutierrez accepted my pitch to do a feature story about meth, gay men and HIV than a stunning Facebook post came across my feed. Someone I knew, Mark Wingo, had died of a meth overdose, and his roommate, Chuck Parker, posted the news and plainly said that meth was the cause.
Chuck became my first interview for the story, only two days after he found the body of his roommate, Mark. I was astonished by his willingness and candidness.
Soon thereafter, addiction and sex therapist David Fawcett, PhD (Lust, Men and Meth: A Gay Man’s Guide to Recovery) spoke to me for the article, as well as long-term survivor Doug Rose and more recently diagnosed Breaun Randle, both of whom have battled meth addiction.
The vulnerability shown to me by these gay men was beyond anything I had expected. You can read the POZ Magazine story, “Meth Still Kills,” right here.
Meanwhile, I wanted to give the men who participated in the story a chance to speak for themselves. The video above is a frank conversation with the four of them about their lives, the intersection of meth and sex and HIV, and their response to the story and how it has been received by people they know.
We must be able to talk about this, folks, without judgment or shameful language. The truth is dangerous enough. We have all watched the swell of meth use among gay men over the last twenty years. What shocked me, though, was to learn that meth overdose deaths have tripled in recent years. Tripled!
That statistic felt so uncharacteristic of the drug as I once knew it. Typically, back in the day, you did a lot of meth and then you slept for three days. No one died. That simply isn’t true anymore.
Thanks for reading, and please be well.
p.s. If you or someone you know if having negative consequences due to the use of meth or other drugs, here is information included in the POZ Magazine story that might be able to help:
GETTING HELP FOR METH ADDICTION
If you are concerned about your use of meth or other drugs:
* Learn more. Read about the signs of addiction and answer a selfassessment questionnaire.
* Speak up. Talk to someone you trust for support and advice.
* Call. Crystal Meth Anonymous offers peer support via 855-METH-FREE. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 800-662-HELP offers support and referrals for individuals and families facing drug and mental health issues.
* Consider inpatient treatment. Use a nonaffiliated facility locator such as FindTreatment.gov.
* Explore harm reduction. The social justice movement embraces a set of practical strategies to reduce the negative consequences of drug use (HarmReduction.org).
Or, Call The National Drug Helpline at (844) 289-0879