Friday, April 18, 2008

GAY STUFF: Life or Meth

"HARM REDUCTION accepts and allows the continued and unabated use of harmful substances and the loss of people cannot be recovered. At best, harm reduction is a halfway measure and half-hearted approach that invites deceit."~ Alison Kogut [Deputy Press Secretary, The US Office of National Drug Control Policy]

This is from the or Life or Meth website -- the originator of the famous "Before and After" pictures:

Now, Life or Meth takes a very hardline anti-drug stance. It only makes sense that they would, and I'm not holding that against them, in fact, I applaud that situation. Meth is bad.

However, they, also, appear to be against harm reduction. There are two forms of "prevention" methods when it comes to drugs and HIV: harm and risk reduction. Harm reduction means taking actions to reduce the potential harm a given behavior can have -- condoms are harm reduction, clean needles are harm reduction. Risk reduction, meanwhile, means getting rid of the behavior all together -- abstinence.

Upon a question from one of the sites visitors, they pretty dramatically tear apart the idea of harm reduction in meth use -- ie, recreational use.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. When working in HIV/AIDS, harm reduction is the only thing that makes sense, as asking people to give up sex forever is pretty much impossible. But with drug use, I don't know.

My own crystal meth use -- and this, mind you, is one of the first times I've talked about it on a semi-public stage -- was, I think, unique when it comes to the more typical experience in the world. Cincinnati has not been hit that hard with "tina" yet -- rather, the crystal we do have arrives via a burgeoning crystal scene in Columbus and Indianapolis. It's really hard to find here. And that's a good thing. But, as Mark Twain tells us, give it time. Per our unofficial city motto: "If the apolocalypse ever comes, I want to be in Cincinnati as it's always 10 years behind." The new crystal scene really began around 2000, and, I've noticed, the demand for it growing. Quickly. Supply always follows. It's the beauty of American capitalism.

But is there room for harm reduction in a crystal world???

I don't know. I feel from everything I am that there should be, but I am starting to see what it can do and where it can take you. And perhaps there's no room for recreational use of anything. But I'm afraid I'm just placing my own feelings and own experiences onto other people.

They say I'm feeling guilty. That I represented for so many people a life and a person who was different, and found myself the same as every body else. Maybe I am guilty... but, today, I did nothing wrong.

And maybe that's all I need.

Update: In the interest of honesty, I will say this, as well. To this day, it would be hard for me to say no to this particular activity. And I'm sad to say that it was the limitation of cost and availability that kept me from doing it more. I know I would have done it more, and I'm sure I would do it again. Unlike other things that have developed into problems in the past, I have no negative memories of it... and that knowledge, and knowing that one day it will be offered again, scares me a bit.

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