- Sex & Drugs
- 26 May 16
“Moralising and finger-pointing don’t work, harm reduction does,” we're told.
In the new Hot Press, we have a special report on drugs like GHB and crystal meth, which are fueling the 30-40 gay chemsex parties that are taking place every week in private Dublin homes.
“A year ago I’d never been offered crystal, now it’s everywhere,” proffers 27-year-old Ciaran. “People don’t come up to you in pubs and clubs and say, ‘Do you want to come home and have mad chemsex with me.’ Most of the hookups take place through Apps like Grindr and GROWLr. You have five or six guys going to someone’s house late on Saturday night and non-stop fucking on drugs until Sunday evening. They’re taking crystal and GHB to get horny and then using cannabis or benzos to come down. Sometimes condoms are used, sometimes they’re not.”
The Director of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, Tony Duffin, notes: “The risks people may take, knowingly or unknowingly, at chemsex parties is of concern to us. Engaging in chemsex can result in significant and chronic health problems for some people; minimising the risks is essential and will save lives and taxpayers money.”
“Moralising and finger-pointing don’t work, harm reduction does,” stresses Adam Shanley from the Gay Switchboard Ireland who’s giving a chemsex presentation on June 10 in Dublin Castle as part of the Gay Sex Forum. “There will be information gathered from the Men’s Internet Sex Survey, which had about 3,500 Irish respondents and questions relating to the sexualised use of drugs,” he tells us. “I’m also involved in an HSE project to survey the clients attending the Gay Men’s Health Service on Baggot Street, so rather than relying on anecdotal evidence – which there’s plenty of – we’ll have some hard facts.”
Shanley offers the important caveat that: “At the moment, it’s the homosexual community that’s disproportionately affected by chemsex, but the evidence from London and further afield is that there are also plenty of heterosexual people indulging in it, who face the same health risks.”
We also talk to Adam Winstock, the addiction specialist who’s one of the UK’s leading chemsex experts.
“Our number one piece of advice to people is, ‘Use a syringe to measure your own dosage of GHB’,” he says. “There’s only a tiny difference between a dose that gets you high and horny and one that causes you to black out. By tiny I mean 0.5ml too much, so under no circumstances swig from the bottle. One in six men using GHB report on occasion passing out, which means there’s also a risk of sexual assault. You’ve said ‘no unprotected sex’ and come to discover that somebody’s fucked you without using a condom. I have a patient who only found out what had happened to him at a party when a video was posted onto the darknet without his consent.”
Read the full report in the new issue of Hot Press, out now with Forbidden Fruit and Bruce Springsteen on the flip-cover.
22-year-old Dubliner Sam Pearson shares his chemsex experiences at