Drugs, Sex, and AIDS by Paul Varnell, Independent Gay Forum
Drugs, Sex, and AIDS
By Paul Varnell
First published May 18, 2005, in the Chicago Free Press.
Recently, our fair city of Chicago issued a report by an ad hoc group calling itself The Chicago Task Force on LGBT Substance Use and Abuse.
The original advocates of the report deserve credit for wanting to address a long-standing problem in the gay community. But the final report, long-delayed and over-edited in order to offend no one, was so infected with drug treatment industry myths, mealy-mouthed social worker jargon and such feeble suggestions for dealing with the problem that it was almost useless.
The report called for a “safe, visible, sustained and supportive dialogue on the topic of substance use and abuse.” It confidently asserted that “not all substance use is problematic.” It preachily admonished us all to be “supportive and nonjudgmental about ... substance use and abuse” and urged us to “find common ground on which to define when substance use becomes abuse.”