Me Not Meth – New Campaign in Ca

MeNotMeth.org
Via gay news blog

California drug officials launched an $11-million barrage of billboards, bus wraps, cable TV ads and a website Thursday aimed at discouraging gay men from using methamphetamine, an illegal stimulant linked to risky sexual behavior and the spread of HIV.

The Website is an excellent resource and the TV ad is very good. I’ve posted about Cystal Meth, or ‘TINA’ or whatever you want to call it, before and again these are worth a look.

Of course the most interesting and horrify part is the stories of people affected of the drug. Please take the time to look at this website

Meth Facts
Methamphetamine is a stimulant that affects the body’s central nervous system. Commonly known as “crystal,” “speed,” “meth,” or “Tina”, methamphetamine is an off-white, odorless crystalline powder that tastes bitter and easily dissolves in water. Methamphetamine may be smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed.

Meth FAQ
What are the short-term effects of methamphetamine use?
Methamphetamine increases energy and suppresses appetite. It slows digestion and increases alertness and concentration. The effects last from 6 to 12 hours or more. Depending on how much or how long one uses, one can become easily agitated, which can sometimes lead to violent behavior. Methamphetamine, like cocaine, strongly activates the reward and pleasure systems of the brain, particularly three important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. As a result, methamphetamine elevates mood, induces euphoria, increases alertness, reduces fatigue, increases energy, decreases appetite, increases movement and speech, and/or provides a sense of increased personal power. However, the drug eventually “hijacks” this reward and pleasure system. Methamphetamine increases blood pressure, heart rate and sweating, and causes anxiety, irritability, insomnia, paranoia, and sometimes even psychosis. Once the high wears off, mental and physical exhaustion set in, often with a deep depression that sometimes includes thoughts of suicide.

What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine use?
Methamphetamine causes long lasting changes in brain chemistry, particularly in the pleasure systems of the brain. These changes impact abilities such as memory, judgment, and reasoning. Other long-term effects include extreme cravings for the drug and dreams of use. These brain changes do not disappear quickly after you stop using methamphetamine and are important factors leading to relapse. However, these conditions improve with extended discontinued use of the drug through treatment. The sooner a user gets into treatment, the better, and the longer a user stays in treatment, the greater the chances that treatment will be effective.

What are some physical signs that someone is using methamphetamine?
Common signs that someone is using methamphetamine include teeth grinding, obsessive picking of the face or body, hallucinations (in what one sees and hears), euphoria, extreme energy, inability to sleep for days, dramatic weight loss, paranoia and violent behavior.

Is it possible to overdose from methamphetamine?
Yes, one can experience overdose from methamphetamine use. Death from a methamphetamine overdose is associated with kidney failure and collapse of the circulatory system. A large percentage of patients who die usually have symptoms of coma, shock, inability to urinate, and muscle twitching.

In addition, methamphetamine use can cause an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and vascular constriction. These symptoms may cause heart problems, stroke, and kidney failure.

How is methamphetamine produced?
The process for making methamphetamine is potentially explosive and produces toxic byproducts. The main ingredients used in the process are ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are chemicals found in common cold and allergy medicines. Methamphetamine is manufactured using toxic chemicals such as lithium from batteries, bleach and drain cleaner, paint thinner, lye, red phosphorous and iodine crystals.

What can one expect when coming down or withdrawing from methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine withdrawal, or “crashing,” symptoms can last from days to weeks and involve loss of energy, depression, fearfulness, prolonged sleep or difficulty sleeping, shaking, nausea, sweating, hyperventilation, increased appetite, irritability and drug craving.

Why is there an association between methamphetamine and HIV?
The association between methamphetamine and HIV transmission is related to 1) the tendency of users to engage in unprotected and uninhibited sex while under the influence of methamphetamine among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (G/B/MSM) and 2) the risks associated with injection drug use for those who inject methamphetamine.

In terms of sexual transmission, many G/B/MSM who are methamphetamine users may not use condoms and may have sex with many different partners while experiencing the effects of the drug. Sexual activity on methamphetamine can be rougher and can last longer. This increases the likelihood that a condom breaks or a sexual partner experiences injury during intercourse, which in turn increases the risk of HIV infection.

Another contributing factor is that G/B/MSM who use methamphetamine have a higher rate of HIV prevalence than those who do not use methamphetamine. Different studies have found that gay men who use methamphetamine are two to four times more likely to be infected with HIV. For those infected with HIV, methamphetamine use can lead to a lapse in HIV medication regimens, weight loss and vitamin depletion. Use also decreases the sleep essential to maintaining the immune system and causes a drop in T cells and NK cells.

Crystal Meth Site

I don’t think enough is being done to raise awarness in Ireland or the UK about the dangers of crystal meth but while browsing through gay.com,I found this article.

New site addresses meth heads
The Advocate

AIDS Project Los Angeles and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis have announced the launch of tweakends.org, a Web site dedicated to helping gay and bisexual men understand crystal meth.

The Web site is intended to educate on the impact of physical, mental, and sexual health, according to a news release from the two organizations. This comes after a notable increase of gay men using the drug.

The site has an interactive feature using medical information and candid discussion to inform visitors. The launch coincides with the second National Conference on Methamphetamine, HIV, and Hepatitis this week in Salt Lake City.

The Web site is an extension of the work being done both by AIDS Project Los Angeles and Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York. The L.A. group runs a crystal meth program — for users of the drug and concerned friends — that aims to reduce the risk of HIV infection and social isolation.

The New York group offers individual and group counseling and a drop-in support group for men confronting their crystal use and sexual health concerns, and has created multiple social marketing campaigns to raise awareness about crystal use and to connect men to treatment.

Not Safe for Work!!!!

USI CITES POTENTIAL RISK OF GAY SEXUAL HEALTH CRISIS

1st July 2006

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has responded to a surge in sexual risk-taking among gay men by calling for a new public awareness campaign to dramatise the risks of HIV and AIDS, as memories of past warnings fade.

Almost 50 percent of all gay men admit to having unprotected sex.

This and other findings of an all-Ireland survey were revealed at the fourth annual All-Ireland Gay Health Forum on Thursday 29 th June.

USI gay and lesbian spokesperson Steven Conlon said: “The survey which found that almost 50 percent of all gay men admit to having unprotected sex was conducted in 2003 and 2004, but sadly the signs seem to be that sexual risk-taking will continue in the absence of more vigorous education and outreach efforts, and regular new media campaigns to sustain public awareness about AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

“USI believes that, among gay men, college students and teenagers may be particularly at risk from contracting STIs – partly due to a creeping complacency among those too young to remember past campaigns urging safe-sex practices, including consistent use of condoms.

“USI would urge anyone who has had unprotected sex with a partner whose HIV status they are unsure of to submit to an HIV test as soon as possible.”