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Learning resources

MEN R USPlease note:

These resources relate to the 3-hour session and most of the links relate to the content on this website. You are actively encouraged to explore MENRUS.CO.UK including the section on DRUGS and chemsex. Alternatively, you can message us through the contact page or reach us on 07791 867885 (Mon-Fri, 10-3).

[1] An understanding of the terms 'chemsex', 'slamming', 'bareback', 'PEP' and 'PrEP' and how they connect

Chemsex: a working definition | Reshape

Methamphetamine (Crystal meth/ Tina) | MEN R US 
Mephedrone (Meow-meow/ M-cat) | MEN R US 

Slamming | MEN R US
Bareback | MEN R US

PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) | MEN R US
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) | MEN R US

Undetectable = Untransmittable or U= U | MEN R US

Tweaker | MEN R US 
Bluelight | MEN R US 

LGBT+ terminology guides
A lack of understanding of terminology, or fear of using the wrong or inappropriate language, is a significant but an easy barrier to overcome. This means you can refer to individuals and issues correctly and, from a policy and practice perspective, provide good health and care to LGBTQ+ people.

LGBT+ glossary, and other words | MEN R US
Labels, acronyms, gender pronouns, and symbols | MEN R US

[2] An understanding of chemsex and its evolution among gay men within a cultural and historical context

MEN R US has pulled together a selection of published articles, reports, studies and news by year from the late 1990s. It's neither definitive nor complete but they do provide a common thread spanning two decades. and a springboard for you to explore further.

Selection of research, studies and articles on chemsex | 1998 - 2020 | MEN R US

Methamphetamine (Crystal meth/ Tina) | MEN R US 
Mephedrone (Meow-meow/ M-cat) | MEN R US 

The Happy Homosexual
The Happy Homosexual | MEN R US

Books and Plays
Books and plays (chemsex related)
Article: The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness | Michael Hobbes
Book: Straight Jacket | Matthew Todd
Book: The Velvet Rage | Alan Downs

[3] An overview of prevalence and potential future trends

Revealed: The Hidden Epidemic Of Abuse, Overdose, And Death Caused By The Sex Drug G | BuzzFeed | 5 Sep 2019
Drug-related deaths involving GHB, by sex; England and Wales, deaths registered between 1993 and 2017 | ONS
Survey of mainstream drugs services in Greater London | ONGOING 2021/ 22 | GMHC
FOI request for chemsex related admissions to Greater London accident and emergency departments | ONGOING 2021/ 22 | GMHC

[4] An understanding of the challenges for abstinence and harm reduction strategies for gay men

Film: Alchemy | Three Flying Piglets for MENRUS.CO.UK

Film: Triptych | Three Flying Piglets for Club Drug Clinic

Safer chemsex (play safer) and hook-up safer campaigns
"Hook-up Safer" Campaign 2.0
The "Quatro" Campaign
"Hook-Up Safer" Campaign 1.0
"Play Safer" Drug Use Campaign
"G Aware: Our Lives Depend On It" Campaign

Safer chemsex packs (PIP PAC) and harm reduction resources
PIP PAC are safer chemsex packs to reduce drug harms innovated by gay men with direct knowledge and experience of recreational drug use; and problematic drug use, withdrawal, and recovery. . Reviewed regularly, contents include colour-coded injecting paraphernalia and a mini-sharps box; gloves, condoms and lubricant; a safer chemsex booklet inc information on ambulance and police call-outs in overdose situations; and rights on arrest booklet.

CALLING 999Calling 999: ambulance and police call-outs, and survey
Whether it's fact, fiction or a myth, there is long-standing anecdotal evidence that when gay men call 999 for an ambulance in (chemsex) overdose situations the police also attend. Click on the picture (right) titled "Calling 999"  which illustrates some of the key issues why gay men don't call for an ambulance or are fearful of doing so. In August 2020, GMHC undertook a snap survey* that supports this overwhelmingly.

  • If you were to call 999 for an ambulance, how likely do you think it is the police would turn up as well?
    46.2% very likely; 19.2% likely; 30.8% uncertain
  • In overdose situations when an ambulance AND the police have turned up ...
    42.3% had direct experience; 46,2% had heard stories/ word of mouth
  • If someone overdoses on 'G' and is unconscious, what are you more likely to do if you cannot wake them?
    50% said call 999; 42.3% said would let them sleep it off; 38.5% said would try first aid
  • Gay men are less likely to call for an ambulance in overdose situations because they are fearful the police will turn up.
    33.3% strongly agreed; 40.7% agreed, 11.1% were uncertain; 14.8 disagreed
*34 respondents completed the survey, 100% of whom identified as gay. 90.6% of respondents were aged 30s-50s. 83.3% of respondents say their last chemsex experience in London

Calling 999: ambulance and police call-out survey | MEN R US

FRANK what to do in an emergency correction 
 Calling 999: FRANK what to do in an emergency | MEN R US

The problematic chemsex journey
During the 2nd European Chemsex Forum in 2018, people who engage in chemsex, community organisers, researchers, clinicians, therapists, social workers and (peer) counsellors discussed potential pathways to problematic chemsex. Here are the findings from the discussions translated into a framework to understand the initiation and process toward problematic chemsex.

"The problematic chemsex journey"* has been developed for prevention and harm reduction. It aims to stimulate reflection and debate, with the ultimate goal of improving prevention and care for people engaging in chemsex. Six stages (loneliness and emptiness, search for connection, sexual connection, chemsex connection, problematic chemsex and severe health impact) and a set of factors facilitating the transition from one stage to the next have been identified.

* Authors: Ben Collins1, Nia Dunbar1, Leon Knoops2, Sjef Pelsser2, Stephen Pelton1, Bryan Teixeira3, Tom Platteau4
1 ReShape and International HIV Partnerships (IHP), London, UK; 2 Mainline, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 3 Senior NGO Consultant, Carcassonne, France; 4 Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

PIP PAC | Gay's Men's Health Collective (GMHC)
Harm reduction resources (printed)  | Gay's Men's Health Collective (GMHC)

[5-6] An overview of treatment services and challenges facing the development of chemsex services. An understanding of how a chemsex service might be ‘integrated’ into a mainstream drug service

Questions for your service

  • Is there a need, is there the evidence?
    Even if not, you can improve its (LGBT+) profile and signpost support
  • Where do you locate a chemsex service?
    A sexual health and/ or drug service both with critical expertise to share
  • Is there a concerted will to develop, and deliver?
    This is an organisational issue. What’s your sense, ask, find out
  • Are there the resources and funding?
    This is an organisational issue. What’s your sense, ask, find out

Service and treatment consideration and making connections

Film: Service discussion prompts | Global Drug Survey
Neptune | Clinical Guidance | Novel Psychoactive Treatment UK Network

[7] An understanding for the need for drug and alcohol treatment services to better meet the needs of gay men and LGBT+ people

Part of the picture (POTP) | LGBT Foundation/ UCLan
Out of your mind | Antidote @ London Friend
Reducing health inequalities and improving access to health and social care for LGB&T people | National LGB&T 


Mapping services

Greater London Services Map
 Accident and emergency departments listed by London Borough
Drug, alcohol and chemsex support listed by London borough
Sexual health services listed by London borough
Met Walk-In Police Stations listed by London borough
Met Police Custody Suites listed by London borough

Talking Drugs

Point of View: Chemsex Harm Reduction | Talking Drugs | 12 May 2021

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