The editor of Attitude magazine Matthew Todd will chair a debate about drug use in the LGBT community at London’s Southbank Centre next month.
The free-to-attend discussion will ask questions such as: “What impact does hardcore clubbing have on the lives and health of gay men?
“Why are queers three times more likely to regularly take chems than their straight counterparts? And why are so many bright young things addicted to ‘tina’ [crystal meth].”
A study published last week in The Lancet showed a sharp rise in the number of gay and bisexual men testing positive for HIV – and it stated there was “anecdotal evidence from drug and alcohol clinics in London that recreational or club drug use amongst gay men” could be linked to rising infection rates.
David Stuart from Antidote, a London charity helping gay and bisexual men with drug dependency issues, contributed to the research and he will be taking part in the discussion about LGBT drug use with Matthew Todd, Royal Vauxhall Tavern landlord Jason Dickie, and DJ Stuart Who, on Saturday 10 August at 7.30pm at London’s Southbank.
Earlier this month the National AIDS Trust (NAT) warned that gay men are increasingly using newer substances, such as crystal meth, mephedrone and GHB/GBL, whilst often sharing needles in the context of risky sexual behaviour.
At the Antidote centre in London, 85% of gay men now report using one or more of these three drugs compared to only 3% in 2005.
A study by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) and the University of Central Lancashire in 2012 showed gay people in England and Wales were seven times more likely to take illegal drugs than the general population and that 1 in 5 have used poppers, commonly sold in gay clubs across the UK.
In June, the government announced it was committed to tackling the use of legal highs in Britain’s LGBT community, as part of a wider campaign by the Home Office to raise awareness about the impact of new psychoactive substances (NPS) or legal highs.
The Minister for Crime Prevention, Jeremy Browne, indicted that he was willing to look at banning new NPS because they “have the potential to cause harm.”