Like many of you, I have been watching the SBS series Queer As Folk, depicting the life and loves of a group of gays and lesbians. Apart from the in-your-face sex scenes, the depiction of the drug use by this group of friends and their associates is one of the most confronting components of the program. Dropping pills, snorting bumps of whatever in toilet cubicles and even overdosing on GHB and lapsing into a coma -“ and that’s only in the first four episodes!

Drug use is most often dealt with in an appalling manner by television drama. I have acted as a drug consultant for quite a few Australian dramas over the year and although the producers and writers do their research, they rarely incorporate many of their findings into the plot because the fact that it may take someone a reasonably long time to become physically addicted to a drug, for example, may not fit into the show’s hour format. Therefore, often you see someone experiment with a drug and then five minutes later they’re addicted to it, they’ve lost their job, their friends and are living on the street.

Although Queer As Folk is not perfect (the speed with which Brian and Michael became intoxicated in the toilet cubicle after snorting a bump of whatever was quite ludicrous), so far much of the drug use represented has been reasonably well done.

One drug that has been mentioned within the series that has raised some questions is trail mix. Let me tell you, it’s a far cry from the healthy blend of fruits and nuts you’d take on a hike.

Trail mix has been causing a bit of a stir in the US over the past couple of years where it is considered one of the latest party drug crazes, particularly amongst gay men. It is usually a selection of drugs mixed together and this combination can vary greatly. However, the main drug usually identified is ecstasy. Recently Viagra has been identified as one of the components of the mix, used to improve sexual prowess.

Ketamine, cocaine, crystal -“ they can all be used in a trail mix, all for different purposes. Ketamine is often added to offer a mellower, longer high but often this can come at a price. The stimulant effect of the ecstasy or the crystal can override the perception of ketamine, so that people can take too much of the trail mix. It doesn’t take much and you can find yourself in the K-hole.

The use of trail mix is an emerging drug pattern and there is little information regarding the clinical implications of powdered combinations of MDMA and potentially dangerous interactions between other drugs. Once again, party drug users are acting as guinea pigs -“ no-one knows the effect these drugs will have in either the short or long term.

Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug, and no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?

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