The use of crystal meth is increasing in the Netherlands. The drug is becoming increasingly popular in the gay scene especially.
This is the conclusion of the report 'Tina and Slamming' of stichting Mainline, which concentrates on the health of drug users, and SOA Aids Nederland. The latter works on preventing the spread of venereal diseases and AIDS via injection needles.
Tina stands for crystal meth, officially called methamphetamine. Slamming is the injection of crystal meth. Besides injecting it, crystal meth can also be snorted or swallowed. Concrete numbers are missing, but in the Netherlands, the drug is mostly becoming more popular among homosexual men having sex under the influence of narcotics, known in the scene as chemsex.
One of the effects of the drug is strong sexual arousal. Users of crystal meth run a risk of getting addicted, especially when injected. Long term use can lead to serious physical and mental problems.
In the Netherlands, crystal meth is mostly known from the US TV show Breaking Bad. When it was still called pervitin in WW II, it was given to solider to combat fatigue. Adolf Hitler was also injecting it. In the 1960s, pervitin was used in Amsterdam night-life, but it was replaced by speed in the 1970s.
Mainline and SOA Aids Nederland think it is likely that the small group of Dutch gay men using crystal meth now, will increase in number over the next years. Because of a price decrease - EUR 200 per gram some years ago to EUR 150 now - the drug has a larger buyer's potential. The past also showed that drug usage in the gay scene is trend setting. XTC and GHB first became popular in those circles.
August de Loor of Adviesburo Drugs knows of a second group of users in Amsterdam, besides gay men: transsexual prostitutes from Thailand. 'They use it in a pill, and to my knowledge as relief for the pain resulting from a sex change. Once in a while, I am asked to test a pill.'
According to De Loor, there is no reason for great concern about the use of crystal meth. 'I do not see anything about it in ambulance reports. It has been used in the extreme gay world for a much longer period of time. I do not see it flourishing outside that world: it is very intense and has a long effect. In Eastern Europe, it is used on a large scale, but there it is a true loser drug. In the Netherlands, social control is much stronger.'
Mainline had twenty-seven in-depth interviews with Dutch gay and bisexual men who have used crystal meth. Some of these men also had experience with injecting crystal meth or other drugs (‘slamming’).
When asked why they are using drugs prior to or during sex, the following reasons are given:
-drugs make intense and sustained sex possible
-drugs increase horniness and take away inhibitions
-orgasms are perceived as more intense
-drugs make relaxing the anus while fucking or fisting easier, decreasing pain
-drugs increase the feeling of connection and intimacy between sex partners, particularly with XTC
-drugs make it easier to surrender to certain forms of sex, such as group sex, BDSM, role play and golden showers
-drugs give a feeling of insatiability: as some men describe it, it enables people to become a ‘slut’ or a ‘pig’.
In that respect, crystal meth is one of the most powerful drugs. It increases libido within ten to twenty seconds, and extreme horniness can last for days. Crystal meth also substantially increases stamina. A sex session with crystal meth can last an entire day, and in some cases even several days.
Various studies looked into ‘meth-binges’. A meth-binge is the prolonged consumption of crystal meth, up to the point nothing is left or the body demands rest. In a study by Semple (2002) 40 percent of the twenty-five interviewees (10 persons) indicated they regularly had meth-binges that lasted two to thirty-three days. The men reporting these meth-binges indicated using 12.6 gram on average over the previous thirty days. Approximately eighty percent indicated having had marathon sex when high on crystal meth.