Crystal meth support group forming

By |2005-09-01T09:00:00-04:00September 1st, 2005|News|

By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman

FERNDALE – In response to the crystal meth epidemic, the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project is joining with Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center to create the first support group for people who want to stop using the drug.
And, thanks to an Arcus Foundation matching grant, MAPP is on the way to beginning a state-wide social marketing campaign to discourage people from starting.
According to MAPP Executive Director Craig Covey, Crystal Meth Anonymous will begin in October at Affirmations.
There are “hundreds of such groups around the country, but none in Michigan,” said Covey, who added that, though there is no funding for the group yet, the need is too great to wait.
Covey expressed his gratitude to Affirmations for their participation in forming and hosting the group.
“[Affirmations] is the logical place; it’s our LGBT community center, it’s right downtown, and I can’t say how pleased I am that they are joining us in this project,” Covey said. “I don’t have the staff or the funding yet, so without Affirmations’ support this effort would be more difficult and we’d have to keep looking for space.”
“This group is just the beginning,” Covey added. “We will eventually need support groups every night of the week in multiple locations – not only in metro Detroit, but I suspect we’ll need these in other cities across Michigan.”
MAPP’s efforts to end the crystal meth scourge aren’t stopping at the formation of the support group. MAPP has received a $13,000 Arcus Fund matching grant to begin a statewide media campaign aimed at education, prevention, and harm reduction.
“MAPP is more than ready to begin critically important work in our community alerting folks to the very real dangers of methamphetamine addiction,” Covey said. “The matching grant being provided by the Arcus Foundation should get us on the way. We are looking at several sources to find the required matching funds in order to access the Arcus grant and begin work.”
The name of the media campaign will be “Crystal Myth.” Once funding is secured, “We will be doing print advertising in all of the gay publications,” Covey said. “We will do interviews and use as much free media in terms of news stories and press releases as possible, we’ll make ourselves available for radio and TV interviews, and also create other promotional items that could range from matchbooks to cocktail napkins to whatever we deem effective to reach our community.”
Figures on crystal meth use point to the need for these programs. A 2004 survey done by MAPP revealed that in Michigan crystal meth use had jumped to nine percent of men who have sex with men; more than double the number of users reported by a 1997 survey. Ten percent of meth users were HIV positive, as opposed to nine percent of the overall population. (See “New study links crystal meth use, HIV infection” )
“These efforts needed to begin yesterday,” Covey said.

Help OUT – and get help!

{ITAL Help MAPP create the “Crystal Myth” campaign to stop the crystal meth epidemic in the gay community. The organization needs to raise $13,000 in order to receive the matching Arcus Fund grant. To find out more or to make a donation call MAPP at 248-545-1435.
Crystal Meth Anonymous will begin meeting on Mondays starting Oct. 3 at Affirmations in Ferndale. For more information call MAPP at 248-545-1435 or Deanna Tocco at Affirmations at 248-397-7105.}

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.