Chemsex addiction is becoming a serious problem. It is the reason for the deaths of many young men, as found by official reports in the London area. Chemsex drug use and it’s real life horror stories are being given much-needed exposure in the upcoming film release Chemsex. But it all comes down to one thing…what effects are these drugs having on men’s mental and physical health?
Words: Gemma Smith, Subeditor: Isabella Sullivan
An increasing number of gay male Londoners are relying on specific drugs (chems) to give them more confidence in the bedroom. This is having some serious mental effects, as well as leading to physical health issues and ultimately, death. Yet many are unaware of the issues and toxicology reports released this year have shown an overdose of a liquid narcotic, (a chem) in the dead bodies of some young gay men, in and around Barking cemetery. The usage of chems is growing fast and this is affecting more and more men in alarming ways.
Released December 4th, new film Chemsex has come during a year when four young Londoners have died due to chemsex drug use.
According to ReShape, chemsex is a term often used by gay men on sexual networking websites and apps and indicates two or more men using one or more of three drugs to facilitate or improve gay sex. Those three drugs are Methamphetamine (crystal/crystal meth/Tina/meth), Mephedrone (meph/drone) and GHB/GBL* (G, Gina). However, many of the users fail to understand the depth of damage this is having on mental illness, physical health and on long-term addiction.
The influential film Chemsex highlights how several gay men are undertaking all-day, drug-involved orgies without even thinking about the health risks. It not only reveals the unknown about intimate and modern gay relationships but also how so many men feel completely alone in dealing with the mental and physical side-effects. Many men are even using the drugs to mask self-esteem or self-confidence, as they feel ashamed and unsure on how to deal with their sexuality and drug addiction.
An official report has identified the association between drug use during sex and HIV transmission and continues to worry health experts. Struggling men’s stories in the film will touch people without a doubt, but those living in these circumstances are left battling alone with a heap of uncertainty.
The NHS and the British Medical Journal identified chemsex as a health priority. It is also a problematic and touchy subject in the gay community, with many men feeling isolated and confused by the situation and the consequences.
For anyone still wondering just how dangerous chemsex drug use is for gay men then the tale of Miguel in the Chemsex film should open up many minds. His story shows the sincere degree of sadness felt while on his chemsex journey, how his mentality had altered and how his whole world tumbled when he lost it on a crystal meth binge.
The subject certainly deserves more exposure. To reach out to society in raising awareness seems one of the few options left in combating this rising and worrying health issue, so we can be thankful for the upcoming film release.