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Of Meth and Men

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In the gay bars, on-line at the "party and plays," and in the bathhouses where meth-fueled sex runs rampant, "Tina" is still kicking a lot of ass. But gay men in Denver are preparing for the fight of their lives.

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health, the Mile High Meth Project is official through December. Some of that money is supporting a weekly Matrix group meeting, where gay men addicted to meth meet for two hours in a cognitive behavioral group process that's more sbout educating users to the dangers of meth than it is about therapy.

The first week's discussion focused on how the drug sucks up time. Rod Rushing, a counselor at the Council, a non-profit dedicated to fighting substance abuse, explained that 24 to 36 hours are involved in the process of getting high with meth. That includes getting the drug, prepping it and smoking it, staying high for hours and then spending hours more coming down before you try to find more meth.

"I think that more people are coming out of the woodwork," said Rushing, who still attends twice-weekly Kicking Tina meetings for gay men addicted to meth, a group he helped found. "I don't think we're at the crux of the bottoming out for people. I think there's going to be more people running into problems. It's not over."

In fact, the fight's just beginning, according to Bob Dorshimer, the Council's executive director. "There's a large part of our community using, but they've yet to see the problem," he said. "This drug takes you away from manageability into dependence.:

To help get the word out, the Mile High Meth Project is passing out brochures and has a website up, where information is also available for "Out in Denver," an April 19 forum that Dorshimer and Rushing are hoping to turn into an annual gay men's health symposium.

Tina better watch her back. -- Luke Turf

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