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Houston Voice, July 2, 2004
File 004
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Houston Voice, July 2, 2004 - File 004. 2004-07-02. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 14, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/2139/show/2113.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2004-07-02). Houston Voice, July 2, 2004 - File 004. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/2139/show/2113

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, July 2, 2004 - File 004, 2004-07-02, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 14, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/2139/show/2113.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, July 2, 2004
Contributor
  • Crain, Chris
  • Fisher, Binnie
Publisher Window Media
Date July 2, 2004
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 004
Transcript HOUSTON VOICE www.houstonvoice.com JULY 2, 2004 3 national news Houston declares war on crystal meth Montrose Clinic's Eric Roland insists gay men are facing a formidable foe in meth, or Tina' By JOSEF MOLNAR At times sounding more like a battlefield general than a counselor, Eric Roland called on concerned individuals to rise up and fight an enemy that he and others consider a clear and present danger to gay men in Houston. Roland's comments came during an event last week at the 1415 Grill hosted by the Montrose Clinic entitled: "Tweaked: A Community Forum on Crystal Meth and its Link to HIV/STDs. Roland, director of education for the Montrose Clinic, led the discussion. "This is nothing to be proud of," Roland said. "Our gay men are getting sick, they're getting addicted, they're getting high out of their minds for days at a time, losing weight, tooth loss, all the things that go along with crystal meth." If that wasn't enough, Roland added, "And on top of that, they're getting [sexually transmitted diseases] and HIV. It's not something to be proud of, and it's something we can change." The event, attended by about 30 individuals, is the second forum of its kind offered in Houston. It was staged to coincide with Pride Week. Roland and other speakers used the event to tell those in attendance about the physical and mental threat posed by crystal meth. Roland said the drug's increasing popularity in the club circuit and among sex groups has overwhelmed local groups, and organizations are now rising up to fight its presence in Houston. Crystal meth, also known as "Tina," "speed" or "T," has its roots as a psychoactive drug during World War II and later as a cheaper alternative to cocaine in the 1970s, when it became the drug of choice for bikers roaming along Route 66, Crystal meth has since evolved into a highly versatile and just as addictive drug used by people from circuit party-goers to middle-aged professionals. The powerful combination of dangerous chemicals used to make crystal meth create a long-lasting high that removes inhibitions and gives users heightened sensory impressions. •f) MORE INFO Crystal Meth Support Group Montrose Clinic 215 Westheimer 713-830-3000 www.montroseclinic.org Roland said the threat is greater than any drug that came before it, mainly because of its highly addictive nature and its relatively inexpensive price. He said Tina is forcing gay organizations to band together to combat its dangerous influence. "Cocaine is a walk in the park compared to cystal meth," he said. "It is so much worse and only going to get worse." Tina's 'Suicide Tuesdays' Marc Cohen, president of the United Foundation for AIDS in Miami, Fla., talked about the drug's "suicide Tuesdays." That's when weekend users find their bodies are drained after a weekend of partying with Tina. "Coming down requires the body to produce its own dopamine," Cohen said. "It might take hours or an entire day to do that, but until then you can be severely depressed." Given the see-sawing effect of using crystal meth, many users eventually find themselves craving the drug more and more to avoid downswings. In the meantime, the inhibitions that prevent unsafe behavior eventually erode away completely, leading to a rise in unsafe sex and a subsequent rise in infections of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. Roland said crystal meth has created an extreme public health crisis. "I think before, we'd see crystal meth as a drug problem, not an HIV or STD problem," Roland said. "Now, we start seeing that connection and we see that the increase in HIV and STDs could be because we're seeing increases in the use of crystal meth." The Montrose Clinic, Montrose Counseling Center and other organizations have begun to reach out to users in the community The groups help users get in touch with information and available resources through Internet chat room services such as Project CORE, or Cyber Outreach Education. Tougher law enforcement The courts recently recognized the dangers posed by the drug and have fiercely reacted. While drug possession is treated severely by Harris County courts, the 1996 federal Methamphetamine Control Act made crystal meth possession a federal crime and imposed stiffer penalities for those caught in possession. The charges and penalties are even more stringent for persons caught trafficking in crystal meth. Anyone suspected of possessing even pipe residue can be arrested, with smalltime violators sentenced to from 180 days to two years in a state prison and a $10,000 fine. The highest-level violators can receive up to 99 years in jail. Attnorney John Nechman sometimes defends those caught with crystal meth. He said many Harris County judges reject any attempts at bargaining for lighter sentences. "You go before the judge, and he rips it up and says, 'I don't want it. This is too easy,'" Nechman said. "To some of them. possession is the same as selling it to elementary kids: they have a zero-tolerance policy about it." Brent Pendleton, a former user and Montrose Clinic education outreach staff member who told his story to the attendees, said his involvement with crystal meth could have easily led to prison. "I was lucky," he said. "You hear a lot about jail and all of that, and thank God it wasn't me." He has been clean for three years now, and is happy he made the decision to kick the drug. "I feel wonderful that meth is not a part of my daily life," he said. "But I don't like seeing what it does to other people. I feel like it's destroying our community, and I don't want to see our brothers and sisters using drugs like that." Cohen developed an ad campaign being run in Miami called "Meth-Death," which shows the physical and mental deterioration suffered by long-term users of the drug. "We decided to use this ad campaign because we had to take the candy coating off of the crystal meth," Coehn said. "For the first time, we're taking the veil off. This is no longer going to be our community's dirty little secret."
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