Overseas crystal meth warnings have made their way into a Sydney sex club, in the absence of any official ACON campaign.
There was a crisis happening in Sydney and no information being put out. So we thought we’d take it upon ourselves to get some information out there, Signal night manager Michael Cave told Sydney Star Observer.
The images were printed from a campaign by New York’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis. One poster reads: My rule was to always use condoms. Then I tried some crystal and forgot all my rules. Now I have HIV.
Chief executive officer of ACON Stevie Clayton told the Star she thought Signal’s campaign was not terribly useful, as research suggested there was no causal link in Australia between crystal meth use and unsafe sex.
What happens is people who don’t use crystal start thinking that crystal is the problem which is causing HIV transmission and therefore if they don’t use it they’re not at risk, Clayton said. And people start thinking people who do use crystal are bad and are the people who are transmitting HIV.
Clayton conceded some drug use is problematic in and of itself and that an ACON campaign about crystal meth and GHB would be released before Sleaze.
The campaign had been pretty slow in its gestation period, Clayton said, partly because certain funding bodies are not particularly interested in funding gay and lesbian work.
Details of the campaign are yet to be revealed, although Clayton said We give people the information that they need to keep themselves safe and healthy and make informed decisions, but at the end of the day it’s their decision to make.
Local pubs and sex clubs have been taking a more hardline approach.
Kens at Kensington has implemented a totally prohibitive policy on drug use, because it is not fair for anyone to impose the consequences of their drug use on other patrons and staff.
The Oxford Hotel and Manacle Bar have also erected anti-drug signs and banned more than two people using single toilet cubicles, to discourage drug use.
Manacle manager Andrew Clarke told the Star he thought ACON were basically doing a very good job, but that occasionally they can’t respond quick enough to changing circumstances.
Clarke noted however that some months ago Manacle posted their own signs about GHB because nothing was available from ACON.
Headquarters manager Paul Fowler told the Star he was considering erecting warning posters related to crystal meth use from San Francisco, but preferred to work with ACON on the issue.
I think there’s more value in not having something in one particular venue, but in having it in all the venues, he said. My preference would be a community based response -¦ and that’s usually where ACON has a role.
One venue owner, who did not wish to be identified, told the Star crystal meth was a problem that would only get worse. He cited an increase in overdoses, and one venue having to take out an AVO against a regular user.