The Internet is the meet-up place for people who mix sex with methamphetamine either because they are trying to score the drug or chase a thrill that’s long gone.
The personal ads on Craigs-list Nashville use code words such as “parTy” to introduce people to meth through sex. The capital T in the middle of the word is a tipoff that someone is looking for a casual encounter while using “tina,” one of the many urban slang terms for meth. Another is “pnp,” which stands for “party and play.”
The come-ons begin with an offer of a line or a toke. The burnouts are inevitable.
While methamphetamine may seem like an aphrodisiac at first, causing people to lower their inhibitions, it eventually shuts down the pleasure sensors in the brain. By the time burnout occurs, a meth user may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease. The drug increases the likelihood of infections, according to multiple medical studies.
Women who used meth were 48 percent more likely to have tested positive for gonorrhea and chlamydia than those who did not, according to one study published last year in a journal called Sexually Transmitted Diseases. It analyzed data on patients who visited clinics in Los Angeles County over a two-year period.
The links between use of the drug and HIV as well as syphilis have been well documented in males, especially men who have sex with men.
While most of these studies focused on urban areas, people living in rural areas also are putting themselves at risk.
That’s the conclusion of “Risky Sex in Rural America,” a study published last year in the American Journal on Addictions. It followed 710 stimulant users in rural areas of Arkansas, Ohio and Kentucky over a three-year period. The researchers got users to answer questions by paying them $50 for completing two- to three-hour survey sessions and $10 for travel expenses.
The study determined that meth users were almost 40 percent more likely to engage in sex than if they had not used the drug.
“Rates of inconsistent condom use were alarmingly high in this study sample, and the majority of current or former stimulant users continued to use condoms inconsistently over the study period,” the article concluded.
Pleasure and anxiety
Brock Searcy, a licensed professional counselor in Nashville, said the drug spurs the release of dopamine, a pleasure chemical, and norepinephrine , an anxiety chemical, into the central nervous system.
“A little bit of anxiety can be a good thing,” he said. “It’s like the butterflies when you first meet somebody. You even need a certain amount of norepinephrine to have an orgasm.”
Cocaine and other stimulants cause similar responses, but meth lasts longer and greatly impairs judgment.
“I have definitely worked with people who have done some things on meth that they regretted,” Searcy said.
Over time, the drug inhibits the brain’s ability to produce pleasure chemicals.
“You get to the kind of situation where you are burning out pleasure neurons possibly,” he said.
“There have been situations with depression and increased anxiety. Depression will completely kill your libido.”
Slang for meth
batu, bikers’ coffee, black beauties, chalk, chicken feed, crank, dope, go-fast, go-go, crystal, glass, hirpon, ice, methlies quick, poor man’s cocaine, shabu, shards, stove top, tina, trash, tweak, uppers, ventana, vidrio, yaba and yellow baron