Nobody talks about it. Every day you see people struggling and being harmed as a result of it. And, yet, many turn their back and ignore that it is even happening. Why do gay clubs have such an abundance of drug use and abuse? Why is nothing being done about it?
I have wanted to write on this topic since I started writing this column nearly five years now. But for many reasons, I have avoided it. I don’t want to drive off anyone thinking that I am being judgmental or trying to rat them out. Nor do I want to give the impression that I am perfect by any means. So how do we talk about the problem? Who speaks up first? Do we have to wait for a drug overdose or drag queen death?
Frankly, I think it is wrong to be quiet on the issue. Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that LGB people are nearly twice as likely to have used an illicit drug in the past year. As a drag queen, I have seen the real impact and the lives ruined. I am tired of seeing people lose their livelihoods, their partners and even their lives — and especially those I care about — as a result of drugs.
It is only when people overdose or die that we take illegal drug use seriously and not as a joke. The use of illegal drugs is rampant at parties and in our clubs. Just go into any bathroom after midnight. And, for the record, I’m not talking about marijuana.
I have never judged those who do drugs. I have simply asked for those individuals to keep their distance and not involve me. For a variety of reasons, I have never wanted to do drugs or had a reason to even try. But I have found myself wanting to help, because I do care for many of the people who seem stuck on this lethal behavior over time.
I have decided we must do more. We have to start somewhere. So what can you do to begin to address the illegal drug use in our LGBTQ community?
1. Name it. Talk about it. Don’t wait to share your opinions with others on the subject. No matter the drug used, it will impact your health and life over time — killing you. AIDS/HIV organizations must combat illegal drug use as part of its education and awareness.
2. Don’t be afraid to say no. If you see someone with drugs, it is okay to tell them “no” and walk away. It is also okay to tell them to get out of the bathroom because you’ve got to take a piss.
3. Show your love. This may seem corny, but show your love. People who use and abuse illegal drugs have reasons they make bad choices. High levels of stress, physical abuse, mental health, etc — all of these are factors. Having someone who shows that they care makes a difference.
4. Don’t be an enabler. Tell your friend how you feel about their illegal drug use and how it impacts your friendship. Let them know that they can get help and be there to help. But don’t allow them to keep using you so they can avoid dealing with their drug habit.
5. Be a positive role model. The fact that everyone else is doing it, does not mean you have to do it. You can laugh, dance and have a great time without using illegal drugs, or any alcohol for that matter. Show your friends how you can live and love life without illegal drugs.
6. Take control. Take responsibility for your life, your health and your safety. Educate yourself and don’t be afraid to get help.
DRAG TIP: Silence = Death is true for many things in life. Illegal drug use will lead to an early death and/or other negative health outcomes/effects.
SHOUT OUTS: Call 24/7 for Drug Rehabilitation at 877-634-9593 and learn more online at DrugAbuse.com.
info: Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and performs to make a difference in this world (and raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her monthly Sunday drag brunch and regular Friday night party bus. Learn more at AllBuff.com. Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye