Study finds male heterosexual drug users engage in risky sex
Call it “crystal,” “tina,” or “crank,” use of crystal methamphetamine is cutting across all socioeconomic and sexual boundaries. How does that affect your family planning facility? A new report reveals that risky sexual behavior under the influence of the drug, which has been reported in men who have sex with men (MSM), also is turning up among heterosexual men.
Researchers in five California counties found that heterosexual men who reported recent Buy meth online use were much more likely to have casual or anonymous sex, anal sex, and sex for money or drugs with female partners than those who did not use the addictive stimulant
Long reported as a predominant drug problem in the Western United States, methamphetamine abuse now has become a substantial drug problem in other areas of the country as well, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in Bethesda, MD.2 Once associated with white, male blue-collar workers, methamphetamine now is being used by more diverse population groups that change over time and differ by geographic area.2 Case in point: Crystal meth use has been noted among patients attending Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona in Phoenix, says agency spokeswoman Melissa Fink.
Methamphetamine use makes many users feel hypersexual and uninhibited.3 This loss of inhibition puts users at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and, in the case of heterosexual women, unplanned pregnancies.4 For many women, the drug often is seen as the answer to the conflicting demands that come with the role of “super mom” — work, child care, cooking, cleaning, and companionship.
Public health officials are concerned about the relationship between crystal meth use and new HIV infections.
To combat the problem in San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Bevan Dufty appointed a citywide Crystal Meth Task Force in 2005. Responses from the task force should be forthcoming, says Jeffrey Klausner, MD, MPH, director of the STD Prevention and Control Services at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
The task force already has considered the use of meth broadly, that is, in groups outside of gay men and other men who have sex with men including transgender people, women, youth, and vulnerable groups, such as the homeless and mentally ill, reports Klausner. The task force’s upcoming recommendations will be aimed at the breadth of the using and at-risk population but remain prioritized among those populations most affected, he notes.
“That response should emphasize prevention and treatment overcriminalization and enhanced enforcement,” states Klausner. “It is a public health problem, not one of public safety; thus, it requires a response framed in public health.”
Understand the problem
According to NIDA, amphetamines are the most potent of the stimulant drugs in increasing dopamine levels, more than three times that of cocaine.2 Since crystal methamphetamine can be synthesized from over-the-counter ingredients, the drug has been easy to access. Law enforcement officials have battled the rise of home-based methamphetamine labs as well as illicit drug importation from Mexico.3
NIDA reports show indicators of methamphetamine abuse have persisted at high levels in the Western United States, including Honolulu, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and have increased in several areas through 2003-2004, including Colorado, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.2 In Minneapolis/St. Paul, primary treatment admissions for methamphetamine as a percent of illicit drug treatment admissions increased from 10.6% to 18.7% from 2001 to 2004; while in Atlanta, primary methamphetamine admissions represented nearly 11% of the illicit drug treatment admissions in the first half of 2004, compared to 6.7% and 6.9% in 2002 and 2003.