Substance abuse has always been common among the LGBTQIA+ community in an attempt to relieve the pain of societal rejection and social judgment. However, many members of the community may also turn to alcohol and drug use to enhance their social experiences and sexual pleasure.
Crystal meth is a particularly common drug used among the LGBTQIA+ community, yet its use carries a wide range of potentially life-threatening health risks. For this reason and more, it is necessary to discuss the concerns of crystal meth use in the LGBTQIA+ community and highlight available treatment programs for those who need help.
Lantana Recovery is a mental health and addiction treatment facility that offers a wide range of treatment programs for individuals. More specifically, we have the tools and resources to effectively cater to the unique mental health needs of the LGBTQIA+ community. Crystal meth and other drug use is not something to be ashamed of. By participating in one of our treatment programs, individuals struggling with continued crystal meth use can achieve lasting healing from their use and its effects.
What Is Crystal Meth?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that methamphetamine (meth) “is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system.” Methamphetamine shares a similar chemical structure to amphetamine, and both drugs produce similar effects. However, meth has an undeniably higher addictive potential compared to amphetamine, as it crosses the blood-brain barrier much quicker and more intensely. As a result, those who use meth experience an immediate and vicious euphoric high.
Despite its many forms, crystal meth resembles tiny glass fragments. It is commonly smoked. However, it is also snorted, injected, and swallowed in pill form. When used, individuals report the following short-term effects:
- Increased wakefulness and energy
- Reduced appetite
- Increased breathing
- Faster heart rate
- Increased blood pressure and body temperature
- Heightening of sexual pleasure
Although the high of crystal meth can last upwards of six to 12 hours, a “crash” commonly follows. This crash is characterized by withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, aggression, and potential violence. As means of navigating withdrawal effects, individuals who use crystal meth often report binge use, increasing the potential for harm.
The General Dangers of Crystal Meth Use
While the temporary high of crystal meth may seem pleasurable in the moment, it is an incredibly dangerous drug. First and foremost, any user of crystal meth is vulnerable to experiencing long-lasting changes to brain structure and functioning. According to NIDA, as a result of these brain changes, continued meth use can reduce coordination, impair verbal learning, and inform emotional dysregulation over time. Additionally, long-term meth use is associated with the following negative consequences:
- Malnutrition and weight loss
- Severe dental problems
- Increased risk of depression and anxiety as a result of withdrawal symptoms
- The development of substance use disorder (SUD) and addiction
- Memory loss
- Sleeping problems
- Frequent disorientation
Long-term use can facilitate irreversible and life-threatening harm, including damage to major organs, an increased risk of stroke, and an increased risk of overdose death. A recent study by NIDA found that between 2015-2019, overdose deaths nearly tripled, and, unfortunately, these numbers continue to rise every day.
Understanding the High Prevalence of Crystal Meth Use in the LGBTQIA+ Community
Crystal meth use has been an ongoing health concern for the LGBTQIA+ community for the last several decades. The drug stimulates a euphoric sensation that, as mentioned previously, increases energy and enhances sexual pleasure and performance. Moreover, the drug can facilitate greater feelings of confidence and power, often informing risk-taking and impulsive behavior. As a result of these effects, crystal meth is commonly used as both a party drug and as an aphrodisiac among the LGBTQIA+ community.
Additional Dangers of Crystal Meth Use for LGBTQIA+ Community
It is imperative to acknowledge the additional concerns that crystal meth use poses for the LGBTQIA+ community. According to an article by the International Journal of Drug Policy, due to the facilitation of sexual disinhibition produced by meth use, such use is “associated with sexual behaviours that increase risk for HIV transmission, including increased likelihood of condomless receptive anal sex, increased number of sexual partners, and higher rates of co-occurring sexually transmitted infections.” Additionally, injecting crystal meth can also increase an individual’s risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases through the sharing of needles.
Substance Abuse Treatment for the LGBTQIA+ Community
Those in the LGBTQIA+ community may experience additional hesitations when it comes to participating in treatment for substance abuse. For example, these individuals may fear the potential judgment or lack of understanding of medical and mental health professionals, with many having past experiences of feeling invalidated and misunderstood. Additionally, there is a stigma of crystal meth being among one of the hardest and most dangerous drugs, which can also hinder an individual’s willingness to seek treatment.
Treatment at Lantana Recovery
Regardless of the obstacles that may stand in an individual’s way from seeking treatment, it may help to know that professional allies of the LGBTQIA+ community do exist. Lantana Recovery is dedicated to providing compassionate, validating care to any client seeking treatment.
We specialize in treating individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community, prioritizing unique needs and vulnerabilities that members of this community may exhibit. Additionally, we approach addiction treatment and recovery by honoring the complexities of life, utilizing a multidisciplinary approach in conjunction with holistic treatment.
LGBTQIA+ community members struggling with the use of crystal meth or any other drug can find refuge in one of our many treatment programs. We have the tools and resources that individuals need to successfully achieve sobriety as well as overcome the underlying factors that may have played a role in recurring substance abuse. From our Empowerment Program to our outpatient services and more, there is a place for everyone at Lantana.
Crystal meth use is highly prevalent among the LGBTQIA+ community, as it is commonly used as both a party drug and aphrodisiac. Despite the seemingly temporary pleasure that crystal meth use produces, its use is accompanied by a wide range of health consequences and concerns. For example, crystal meth use increases impulsive behavior, which can inform risky sexual practices and the potential transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, meth use can quickly inform the development of addiction. Lantana Recovery offers compassionate, whole-person care for all individuals, including those of the LGBTQIA+ community. We offer several treatment programs and numerous modalities to individualize our client care. For more information, contact us today at (866) 997-2870.