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Chicago launches campaign to curb meth use

Chicago launches campaign to curb meth use

Chicago mayor Richard Daley recently announced the launch of a campaign against methamphetamine use in the city, with particular emphasis on Chicago's gay community, where it is an increasing problem, according to authorities. The mayor said police and health departments, social service providers, medical personnel, and leaders in the gay community will participate in the campaign. Methamphetamine use has spread across the country in the last decade, especially in rural areas where makeshift labs are less likely to be noticed. But the drug is also a problem in urban areas, sometimes first catching on in the club scene and among certain populations such as gay men, experts said. A task force set up by the city health department and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago will distribute posters and brochures about meth's dangers and will send outreach teams to talk to at-risk people. Police are conducting more undercover searches to identify sources of the drug, and they are educating club owners on how to identify users and keep meth out. In one city district with a large gay population, according to police, meth-related search warrants have risen from 13 at this time last year to 32 so far this year. City alderman Tom Tunney, who is gay, said he thinks the gay population can be vulnerable to drug use due to "issues of acceptance, issues of fitting into society, and [lack of] positive role models." But Tunney and Daley both stressed that the highly addictive drug and its dangers are not confined to the gay community. (AP)

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