Chemsex

Support for families, friends and partners of LGBT people using alcohol, drugs or engaged in chemsex

Are you affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use? Is your partner, friend or family member engaged in chemsex?

Adfam is working with London Friend, a charity that works to promote the health and well-being of LGBT people, and their drug and alcohol support service Antidote, to pilot new support for families, friends and partners of LGBT people using alcohol, drugs or engaged in chemsex.

Chemsex is sexual activity between gay and bisexual men under the influence of specific drugs, usually methamphetamine, mephedrone and GHB/GBL to enhance and stimulate sex. Sometimes the drugs are injected, a practice known as 'slamming'. Chemsex often takes place with multiple sexual partners and sessions of long duration, sometimes over several days. Those that engage in chemsex often report condomless sex and other risky behaviours.

Supporting a friend, partner, or family member affected by problematic alcohol or drug use can be difficult. 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.

As part of a pilot Antidote and Adfam held targeted support groups and developed an online resource for LGBT families, friends and partners.

The groups were piloted in different ways to see which approach works best. We ran two weekend support groups, one for parents, and one for partners and friends; these were semi-structured, looking at different aspect of supporting a loved one, with time for participants’ questions. We also ran an informal monthly drop-in providing information and flexible support for anyone affected by a friend, partner or family member’s drinking, drug use or chemsex.

Support groups ran for six sessions throughout September & October 2018 with a follow up session in November 2018.

The informal drop-in in took place on Monday evenings once a month over four months until December 2018 at London Friend's HQ on Caledonian Road, London.

Online resource

In January 2019 we launched 'Chemsex: more than just sex & drugs' - a free online resource with information and advice for families, friends and partners of LGBT people using alcohol, drugs or engaged in chemsex.

Download the resource here (pdf).