News Comment

Saturday 3 December 2016

Chemsex: how a drug subculture fits into a post-referendum comedown

Chemsex is not a new idea and the furore around it is prurience masked as public health concerns

Donal Lynch

Published 29/11/2015 | 02:30

Controversial: Scene from movie 'Chemsex' which premiered in London last month
Controversial: Scene from movie 'Chemsex' which premiered in London last month

Ah chemsex. A phrase that most gay men never heard or saw outside of the confines of a Grindr profile is everywhere all of a sudden. A movie, a couple of plays, radio items here in Ireland, a ton of breathless think pieces in the English broadsheets. You could be forgiven for thinking it's the new national pastime for gay people, right up there with being right-on symbols of a new Ireland.

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Despite what the UK Independent called a "lack of reliable statistics", it's been suggested that "more and more" gay men are taking part in epic drug-fuelled sex parties, the popularity of which has been fuelled by advances in smartphone technology and the increasing availability of cheap drugs such as crystal meth and G (a synthetic hypnotic, also known as 'the date rape drug').

A report in the British Medical Journal also recently warned of a "small but important" increase in the use of mental health services by chemsex drug users.

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