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GLMA will use
grant to study impact of crystal meth

GLMA will use
grant to study impact of crystal meth

Study will focus on getting gay meth addicts into treatment.

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association is planning to use a $320,000 grant from Hythiam, a health care services management company focusing on substance abuse, to examine crystal methamphetamine use among gay and bisexual men and to make recommendations on how health care providers can get meth-addicted gay men into treatment.

A 2003 study, led by the Chicago Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discovered that approximately 10% of gay men had used crystal meth at least once in the previous year, compared with 0.7% of the general U.S. population. In addition, of those gay men who reported meth use, 20% said they used it at least once per week. A joint study conducted from 2000 to 2001 by the University of California, San Francisco's AIDS Health Project; the CDC; and the San Francisco Department of Public Health found that those who used meth were three times as likely to contract HIV than nonusers.

"The number of heterosexual meth users far exceeds the number of gay meth users. However, this drug clearly has a dangerous impact on a more sizable proportion of the gay community," says Steven Lee, a GLMA board member and New York psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of methamphetamine addiction in gay men, in a press statement. "To date there are only a few studies looking at either medical or behavioral interventions specifically tailored to meth. Because use of meth has such harmful consequences and is so intensely addictive, it is crucial to investigate more effective treatments."

An advisory board is being assembled to oversee the project. A series of focus groups are planned for May and June. GLMA will produce a paper on the topic in July. (Advocate.com)

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