Survey shows true extent of crystal meth use among gay men

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New data from the annual National Gay Men’s Sex Survey 2005 shows that fewer than 3% of gay men in the UK had used the drug crystal meth in the last year.

The annual survey, undertaken by Sigma Research and funded by Terrence Higgins Trust, asked over 16,000 gay and bisexual men questions about their recreational drug use, during the summer of 2005. The initial findings from the survey also show that just 0.3% of men used crystal once or more a week.

Will Nutland, Head of Health Promotion at Terrence Higgins Trust said: “This data gives us a clear baseline of gay men’s use of this drug for the first time ever. Recent media portrayals have given the impression that crystal meth use is widespread and is driving the HIV epidemic in the UK. This data provides us with the first reliable snap shot of what is really happening”.

In London, just over 6% of gay men had used crystal in the previous year, and the vast majority of men who had used crystal had done so less than once a month.

Will went on to say, “Whilst crystal meth use is a minority activity, it is also important to recognise that its use could increase and that crystal meth use will be problematic for some men. This data helps gay health and drug programmes to measure the real extent of gay men’s recreational drug use and respond accordingly.”

Terrence Higgins Trust continues to raise awareness of the effects and dangers of crystal meth and has produced a leaflet to inform gay men.

Regional data reports for the 2005 Gay Men’s Sex Survey can be viewed at www.sigmaresearch.org.uk

The full findings will be published in autumn 2006.