Sad to say that it wasn't until I moved to San Francisco that I realized just how big a problem crystal meth is for the gay community. I've had two friends who were absolutely destroyed by it, and two other very close friends who have had intense struggles with it. At my first Radical Faerie gathering I was naively surprised to discover how many people there were dealing with it (or in it), and it has had a very negative impact on the gay party scene. Fortunately, meth use seems to be on the decline, but walking through the Castro yesterday I had two potent reminders of just what a scourage it still is.
First, I saw sidewalk stencils and posters for a new "Resist Meth" campaign, with constructivist imagery obviously copied from the famous "Obey" posters.
And then, stopping by to pick up my mail at Market and Sanchez, Chris, who owns the mailbox stop and is a recovering tweaker himself, noticed a little baggy with a tiny, tiny amount of crystal still left in it. At first he was going to throw it away, and then he decided that he wanted to really frustrate someone, so he dumped the contents on the sidewalk and split open the baggy.
It's an odd moment when you see both the problem and an attempt to solve it in the space of a few hundred feet like that. It brings home just how very real the problem continues to be.