Last semester, I took a reporting class at San Francisco State University and I wrote some articles that I’m really proud of. All my unpublished articles took an extensive amount of research written with vivid descriptions. Some articles had an eccentric and unusual angle. If I had a blog then, I would have posted them up. But since I do have one and they are A&E based with a central focused on the gay community, I figured I would post them up anyways. There will be many more to come, but here’s the first post. I went to a play about the dangers of meth addiction. It was my final feature and it’s an issue that largely affects the gay community.
“Hotshot” Play Shows the Dangers of Meth in the Gay Community
April 30, 2008
Price Troche wears only a pair of “H&M” multi-colored boxer briefs on top of a table. He blissfully dances with his grinding teeth and crackling knuckles and an erratic hyperactive speech. Troche is an actor in a play, and he’s playing a gay methamphetamine (meth) user.
“The movements and mannerisms are in a displaced mind,” said Troche as he imitates a meth user. “You’re kind of A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) with your mouth quicker than your mind.”
“Hotshot,” the play which Troche performs in, chronicles the lives of three gay men and their usage with meth. The play addresses the dangers of meth addiction within the gay community.
“The play was very interesting, real and kind of scary,” said Carinna Glino, a 19-year-old City College of San Francisco student majoring in nursing. “I understand if someone lost everything in his life that he’d turn to meth to numb the pain.”
According to a survey by the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP), 55 percent of gay and bisexual men have used meth in their lifetime.
“The statistic is unusually high,” said Sara Devans, 27, a receptionist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “It affects a large amount of the gay community.”
The “Me Not Meth” ad campaign has helped bring the taboo subject to the forefront which is affecting all areas of the community.
“I’ve seen the ads all over the city and more people have become aware of the issue because of them,” said Brent Duma, a 20-year-old student who watched Hotshot. “One of the highlights was a guy accepted by his family for being gay, but rejected for using meth. I’ve only noticed men on the ads.”
The campaign launched in March with goals to fight meth use in the gay community and highlight personal losses of meth addicts, especially in connection with AIDS.
“The ads are really shocking,” said Evan Daniels, a 19-year-old San Francisco Art Institute student majoring in advertising. “They make it seem like all gay men will lead to tragedy and HIV.”
There has been an association between gay and bisexual meth users with HIV. Men who use meth are two to four times more likely to be infected with HIV, according to the ADP report.
“There’s no single, particular reason why gay men turn to meth,” said Troche. “For many, it’s because of depression and a lack of acceptance from society. Drugs accept everyone and you’re treated like a god.”
Booster, Troche’s character, is a relatable character to many gay meth addicts.
“Booster’s fresh on the scene. He’s very stubborn, but he never had a lack of a family structure,” said Troche. “He uses his looks and brings sex to the table. He doesn’t know how to get out of the scene until the end of the play where his friend dies.”
The short-term effects of meth include energy increase, appetite suppression, agitation, and mood elevation, according to the ADP report. The effect usage can last from six to twelve hours.
The short-term effects may seem blissful, but they lead to a dark side,” said Devans. “Some of the serious long-term effects are serious sleep deprivation, paranoia, dramatic weight loss, addiction and possible violent behavior. Some patients never recover back.”
The three main methods to get meth in your system are snorting, injecting and anal insertion called a “booty bump.”
“It’s quicker and faster to get meth in your system,” said Troche. “Meth addicts feel the pleasure right away.”
Hotshot has shown realistic and diverse portrayals of meth users.
Troche prepared for the role by imitating the mannerisms of Tenderloin addicts and learning from recovering addicts like co-stars.
“I watched “12 Monkeys’ to copy Brad Pitt,” said Troche. “He has the mentality of a meth user because he played a schizophrenic who hears voices Many addicts are in that mental state.”
One in ten Californians have a close friend who used meth while a staggering 93 percent of Californians know about meth usage, according to the survey by the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs
“I think everyone can name someone they know,” said Glino. “If they can’t, they see it in the movies.”
Hotshot played at Mama’s Calizo’s Voice Factory in San Francisco for the month of April. “The crowd reaction has been mostly positive,” said Troche whose playing is running at. “I’ve had people thank me for telling the story because it’s very personal for them.”
“Meth is a big problem in the LGBT community,” said Troche. “But it doesn’t discriminate with race or gender. That‘s probably the most scariest part about meth because it can happen to anyone.”