In January 2017 London Friend invited representatives of London-based drug treatment services to a scoping meeting with a view to establishing a Chemsex Network across agencies. Chemsex has become an increasingly prevalent issue amongst gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) leading to presentations at GUM and drug services. The initial thinking for a Network was prompted by the European Chemsex Forum, a three day conference and training event hosted in London in April 2016. Together with the AfterParty London service, London Friend’s Antidote service discussed the need for support in drug treatment services.
A summary note of the scoping meeting can be found here.
The scoping meeting served as a useful starting point, confirming an appetite for further networking and engagement on the topic. However, it was clear that most drug treatment service are not yet seeing significant numbers of people seeking support for chemsex. This raises questions as to why, which may be linked to the discussions that services attending the scoping meeting reported not feeling equipped to manage this. It also reflects findings of previous research that LGBT people often want to choose LGBT specific support.
Although aimed at drug treatment services there was a broader attendance from other services involved in supporting those engaged in chemsex. This highlights the key role such services are playing in supporting the many people seeking information, advice, support and treatment for chemsex but who are not seeking this in significant numbers from drug treatment agencies. Strategically this raises issues about the interface between non-treatment agencies, sexual health and GUM services, and drug treatment.
We are arranging a subsequent meeting on Friday 23rd June 2017 – representatives of London’s drug and alcohol treatment services are invited to register to attend using Eventbrite here.
A mailing list for those wishing to join the network has also been set up, and you can join here.