State Meth Campaign to Include Gay, Bi Men

On Nov. 28, California’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs announced a $10 million ad campaign to address methamphetamine use among men who have sex with men (MSM), women of childbearing age and youths. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared the date Methamphetamine Awareness Day.  

Lisa Fisher, a state spokesperson, said the ads will begin running in January in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and Fresno. They will appear on TV, in gay bars and in bus shelters. Dana Van Gorder, executive director of Project Inform, said the ads will include "a very positive message for gay men."

Van Gorder, who promoted the campaign to the state legislature while at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, said the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center also worked on the campaign. The focus at first was just to target gay men, but the campaign broadened as state officials reviewed research on other groups of concern.

Dr. Jeffrey Klausner of the San Francisco Department of Public Health said, "I think it’s a good idea to try to increase general awareness about the problem." He noted that while the rate of methamphetamine use in San Francisco is highest among MSM, users statewide are increasingly younger and straight.

Michael Siever, PhD, director of the Stonewall Project, said research over the years has shown that 15-20 percent of gay men in San Francisco use the drug at least occasionally. The Stonewall Project runs, which provides a harm reduction approach to methamphetamine use.

Health advocates maintain that methamphetamine users are several times more likely to contract HIV and other STDs, since they are more likely to have multiple sex partners and to practice unsafe sex.

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