A major donation to a health provider in Los Angeles will help fight meth use among gay men.
APLA health (which began life in the early 80s as AIDS Project Los Angeles) announced it’s received a donation of $250,000 specifically to help fund its ‘Party Wise’ harm-reduction scheme.
‘Party Wise’ is specifically aimed at gay and bi men in Los Angeles who use crystal meth. The donation comes from The Murray/Reese Foundation.
Meth use has risen dramatically in recent years, particularly during the pandemic. In Los Angeles, meth overdose deaths increased 77% from March to December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
The Reese/Murray Foundation
Reality TV producer Jonathan Murray (The Real World and Road Rules), and partner Harvey Reese are the couple behind the Murray/Reese Foundation. The men have been together since 1992.
In a statement, the couple said, “Too many promising gay men’s lives are being destroyed by meth. We hope that this additional support of the Party Wise program at APLA Health will put many of those lives back on track. APLA Health has the experience, competence, and compassion to design and effectuate this program to have a profound impact on the Los Angeles community.”
Besides helping fight meth addiction, the men have also worked to create more opportunities for those with disabilities. Last year, Variety reported they made a $1.1million donation to boost training for disabled people behind the camera in the film and movie industry. Other organizations to benefit from their donations include The Los Angeles LGBT Center, Project Angel Food, GLAAD, and The Trevor Project, among others.
Thanks to the donation, APLA Health says it will expand the Party Wise scheme to address the increased use of meth, associated HIV infections, and overdoses. It will also launch a digital advertising and awareness campaign via online dating apps.
“We are beyond thrilled for this generous funding from The Murray/Reese Foundation; their support will enable us to significantly expand our efforts to provide much-needed services to address this rapidly growing problem,” said Craig E. Thompson, CEO of APLA Health, in a statement.
Crystal meth (methamphetamine) is part of the amphetamine family. It typically makes users feel very awake, alert, high and exhilarated. It lowers inhibitions, especially concerning sex, and will typically make you feel super horny.
However, it can also make you feel agitated, paranoid and confused – to the point of psychosis. It raises the heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attack. You will probably have trouble getting an erection, despite feeling very aroused.
As its effects can last for so long, you can forget to take HIV treatment or PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis). You may go for long periods without eating or sleeping.
Related: Why queer people are stocking up on this life-saving nasal spray for drug overdoses
Why are so many people overdosing on meth?
The overdose risk comes primarily from mixing the drug with alcohol or other drugs. If you choose to inject it, that can also bring a host of other problems, especially if you share needles.
As a drug, it is highly addictive.
The rise in overdose deaths in Los Angeles has been dramatic. Terry Smith, Director of Sexual Health and HIV Prevention Services at APLA, says a major factor is the fact meth is increasingly laced with Fentanyl. Because of this, he thinks the 2021 statistics maybe even worse. It’s also why APLA encourages people to test their meth with Fentanyl strips, which can tell users if their drug contains the opioid.
Smith told Queerty this big donation will really help the ‘Party Wise’ program.
“We really want to address the party and play scene, those guys who are often what we call weekend warriors. They might start off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and it becomes a slow slide into Friday becomes Thursday … Sunday becomes Monday, then Tuesday. And then they find themselves in the midst of this addiction that happens quickly.
Related: 7 signs your drinking may have gotten out of control in the pandemic
Party Wise aims to take a non-judgemental approach to help crystal meth users. It encourages them to look at the impact meth is having on their life. The aim is to help them make choices to reduce the negative consequences.
“What we’re trying to do is raise people’s awareness,” says Smith. “‘Hey, have you looked at your life since you started this whole thing. Are you seeing changes in your relationship? Are you getting into problems at work?’ So it’s not like, ‘Don’t use!’ It’s more about, let’s be mindful about the use.”
Smith says the money will help develop support groups for users, an intensive intervention program of workshops for those serious about wanting to stop, plus a social marketing campaign to further raise awareness.
You can find out more about the ‘Party Wise’ program via the APLA Health website.
This plan is so virtuous and well-meaning that I (almost) hate to make fun.
“‘Hey, have you looked at your life since you started this whole thing. Are you seeing changes in your relationship? Are you getting into problems at work?’ So it’s not like, ‘Don’t use!’ It’s more about, let’s be mindful about the use.”
*Yeah, now that you mention it, I got f**ked by ten guys last night and it was awesome, but I do notice meth is causing some changes in my relationship.* *Yeah, now that you mention it, my getting fired from 7/11 might have had something to do with my meth use.*
Mindful meth use!
There is no such thing as partying wisely. Doing meth responsibility is an oxymoron. If an addict chooses meth then the only way they’ll get out is by the said negative consequences.
It’s not surprising at all that it spiked up so much during the pandemic when so many people were staying at home and getting $ from the government. Idle hands are the devils playground as they say.
Well, you obviously dont know shit about it. I uesed meth for a year and then just stopped when I noticed it wasnt fun anymore and was starting to negatively impact my life. I stopped using right then and there and have never relapsed. Like any drug there is not ONE way of how it ends, Yes, the vast majority can not use it wisely just like booze and any other substance abuse but you and HEywould are both speaking out your asses as you again OBVIOUSLY have no real knowledge of the problem but want to come on here and act like big men when you are both pathetic assholes who rejoice in other peoples pain. I thank GOD I never had to go to anyone like you for advice cuz you are a miserable POS
@Barry, Just so I’m sure I understand what you are saying… You claim that it is possible to party responsibly with meth? Maybe Chrisk and Haywood were a little blunt with their statements, but bottom line is they were accurate statements. Would you support an HIV prevention ad that says, “Just let him stick it in a little, for safer sex”? That’s basically what you are saying. You are 1 in a million to be able to easily walk away from meth. Just like you and meth, there have been a hand full of people jump from airplanes with defective chutes and live to tell about it, but I wouldn’t be recommending people should intentionally try it. That’s my problem with drugs. People make deliberate choices to try drugs in almost all cases and that’s why I’m pretty hard hearted about drug abuse problems.
Openminded just let me understand what you are saying. You are saying drug use is exactly like having HIV since that is the comparison you used in your response to me. HiV is a virus while drug abuse is not and to say that having unsafe sex is exactly like using drugs is so stupid as to be laughable. Your obvious homophobia and thee fact you are a right wing troll totally explains your childish ideas on HIV and drug use. No I am not one in a million as I personally know at least 3 other people who were serious drug users who just stopped. It is not comparable to jumping out of an airplane with no chute. You only seem to be able to deal in absolutes which is such a right wing view of the world. You seemed to miss where I said Meth is a serious problem but to try to discard anyone who has used is a vicious and stupid.
(That’s responding to @Chrisk.)
that’ll buy quite a few hits. Waste of money, the least successful drug rehab programs are those that are aimed at meth. Only thing it results in is jobs created with a 10% short term success rate, like all recovering users the general outcome is to fall back to using again.
Yeah, results sound kinda hopeless but at least they are doing something. I do sometime wonder how seriously some rehab facilities want to actually treat the patients problem.
A new approach is worth a try, and maybe this couple has reason to think this might work, based perhaps on meth addicts they’ve known. Or maybe they’re just tossing a neo-Buddhist concept at the wall and hoping it will stick. Everyone’s talking about “mindfulness” nowadays, hey I’m a big fan (and a meditator) but is there really such a thing as mindful meth use? I’m dubious. But okay, maybe!
LOL: “So it’s not like, ‘Don’t use!’ It’s more about, let’s be mindful about the use.”
Looks like money well spent.
Barry sounds like someone who may still be using. The hostility is a bit overboard and there is nothing wrong with the original statement. Chill.
I thought the same thing
What makes me hostile ,and no I havent used in years, is this condensation on the [part of all of you commenting on something you obviously know very little about. It is similar to openminded who compared HIV to drug use when HIV is a virus and drug use is not so there is NO comparison. The recovery rate on all addictions is small including alcohol but giving up on people while patting yourselves on the back is infuriating.
OVERBOARD? how about openminded who compared HIV to drug use. HIV is a virus and drug use is not. That kind of stupidity is ENRAGING
There are links to meth and HIV sadly, because all the meth users I’ve met are poz – the drug reduces inhibitions and the PnP crowd tend to bareback and play hard so yes infection is bigger amongst them.
Sure one is a drug and another is a virus, but when we’re talking risks of not taking HIV prevention or PReP/treatment, they are totally linked.
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