Methamphetamine use is increasing in Washington, D.C.’s gay community, says the Washington Post. The local Whitman-Walker Clinic, which provides HIV/AIDS and other health services to a largely gay clientele, reports that 75 percent of its new drug treatment clients list crystal meth as their primary drug of abuse. Five Crystal Meth Anonymous groups meet near a neighborhood with many gay residents. Two and a half years ago there were none. Suburban treatment centers report an increase in meth-related referrals, including some in teenagers. The D.C. government has awarded a grant for an anti-meth public education campaign, which will target the gay community.
Commonly known as crystal, crystal. meth and Tina, meth is a potent, highly addictive drug that some experts say can cause long-term neurological and cardiovascular damage. Aside from its growing use in gay clubs, meth has made little impact in local jurisdictions, officials say. Over the past five years there has been a surge in the number of gay men in the Washington area seeking treatment for meth abuse. Kevin Shipman of the capital city’s Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration notes that the number of meth referrals to the Whitman-Walker Clinic’s outpatient drug programs is five times higher this year than in 2000.