Earlier this month London Friend and Adfam were delighted to announce the introduction of new support groups for LGBT families, friends and partners of people with issues with drugs and alcohol or engaging problematically in chemsex.
To those that don’t know, chemsex is the use of drugs during sex to enhance and inhibit the experience. It predominantly takes place between men in the gay community and the drugs typically involved are methamphetamine, mephedrone and GHB/GBL. Sometimes the drugs are injected, known as ‘slamming’.
It can encourage risky behaviours such as condomless sex and sharing needles putting people in danger of HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. There is also the evident risk of when drug use is combined with sexual activity as drug use can reduce people’s ability to keep themselves safe. And perhaps the biggest risk of all, loss of life through overdose, something that can occur with GHB and occurred recently in the tragic case of Paddy Bloor, told by his bereaved mother and father in this moving piece.
Supporting a friend, partner, or family member affected by problematic alcohol or drug use can be difficult. This further applies when a loved one is engaging in chemsex and can have a hugely detrimental impact on the wellbeing of affected others, whether that’s families, partners or friends.
Although family support groups exist, they are not generally LGBT specific, and people attending may not feel comfortable talking about a same-sex partner, or about sensitive issues such as chemsex.
That’s why London Friend are working with Adfam to pilot support specifically for families, friends and partners of people that have a problematic relationship with chemsex. This important intervention will provide affected others the specific support they need and the space to meet and share with others affected by this issue, and who can properly associate with what they are going through.
These groups are starting next month and will include
- a weekly group for parents
- a weekly group for friends/partners
- four informal monthly drop-ins.
Monty Moncrieff MBE is Chief Executive of London Friend