Gay Community Must Address Self-Esteem, Depression Issues That Contribute to Crystal Meth Problem, Opinion Piece Says
A "second revolution must occur within the gay community" in which men and women "'come out' concerning the issues of low self-esteem and depression that are prevalent" in the community and that contribute to crystal methamphetamine use among men who have sex with men, Allen Reese, CEO of Desert AIDS Project, writes in a Palm Springs Desert Sun opinion piece. According to Perry Halkitis, a New York University psychologist, "isolation and low self-esteem" are "root cause[s]" of crystal meth use among many MSM, especially among those who are HIV-positive, Reese says. Mental health problems create a "really vicious cycle" of HIV/AIDS, crystal meth use and depression, according to Halkitis, Reese writes. In-depth studies of depression among gay men and women are needed, and the Desert AIDS Project is "committed" to addressing the issue "in the months and years ahead," according to Reese. If we do not "seek out the root causes of rampant substance abuse, there is little hope for us to have any impact on reducing the use of these drugs within a gay population that is highly vulnerable to acquiring HIV," Reese concludes (Reese, Palm Springs Desert Sun, 4/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.