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Erik's Story

Posted on 09 September 2019

Over the last couple years, I’ve struggled with mental health and addiction issues, in particular, crystal meth. My experience isn’t unique. While fentanyl dominates the media discourse, meth-related overdose deaths increased 3.6-fold over 5 years to 2016 in the US. In Ontario from 2016 to 2017, there was a 22% increase in meth-related deaths. Of course, meth is so psychologically damaging that the second most common cause of death is “violent suicide”. But while meth in popular media is being promoted in a hetero-normative context by films such as Beautiful Boy and the public sees it largely as a problem affecting rural communities, in metropolitan areas meth is an epidemic in the gay community. Some estimates suggest up to 20% of gay men will try meth compared to 2-3% in the general population. It’s insane. The culture behind gay dating apps and its syndemic use with sex can only continue to perpetuate this issue. I did it so many times in secret before I realized it was an issue for me and I felt so much shame around the fact I was doing it to even talk to anyone in my life about it 😞. I’m finally in a place where I feel hopeful about my chances of living a healthy and happy life and I’m not looking back (4 months sober 🎉). I’m so grateful to my friends, to my family, to a more than supportive employer, and to my peers in the community who have been here to support me because I honestly wouldn’t be here without them. I’m done living a life of shame and hiding from the reality of my life. This is a big step for me on my journey towards authenticity. I just hope that we, as a community, can promote a culture of honest, open, judgement-free discussion around these issues so that people feel safe to share if they are struggling…

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