Good morning Mr. Savage. I thought your advise to SNAFU, the DC guy who found his partner researching meth, was spot on. I'm a former user myself (10 years using, two years clean), so I wanted to share with you some thoughts.
Please tell SNAFU to get himself tested. I had a high-level job in a high-profile industry and I had a great boss who helped me get into rehab when I finally decided to get help. But neither he nor anyone else knew I was using until I came clean. So it is absolutely plausible that the writer's partner is using and hiding it well. In fact, crashing for 15 hours and being depressed are typical signs of someone coming down from a meth high. And because meth (in lower doses) increases focus (as opposed to something like cocaine or Molly, which affects your personality to a far greater degree) it's again plausible that the boyfriend's partner has been high around him. If the boyfriend has never been around meth before, he may not recognize the symptoms—if SNAFU is like most people, Breaking Bad is the extent of his exposure to people on meth.
I wanted to share my (unfortunate) insights with you because this is a huge problem in the gay community. I was given meth the first time by someone who I considered a mentor, who got me drunk and then convinced me to try it. And I know others who had the same sort of experience with others who were equally predatory. (FWIW I know I'm the one who kept going back to it, so I don't blame him for my addiction, but I do believe it is a dark side of the community that needs to be talked about more.)
Thanks For All You Do
Thanks for sharing, TFAYD, and I've passed your letter on to SNAFU. One more letter about my advice to SNAFU... after the jump...
"...perhaps your boyfriend abused meth before you met—and there’s no using meth, only abusing meth..."
No, Dan Savage, the majority of individuals who try or use methamphetamine recreationally do not develop an addiction to the drug. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), of the 12.3 million Americans who report having used the drug during their lifetimes, about 1.2 million consumed it in the course of that year—fewer than 10% of individuals. A mere 3.6% of those people used meth during the preceding month—fewer than half a million individuals. Roughly 5% of non-medical users of methamphetamine will become dependent within two years. Five fucking percent. The enormous majority of people who use meth recreationally will use it in precisely that way and never develop anything resembling the crippling, life-destroying dysfunction of addiction, and to equate those individuals with people who, through poverty or depression or environmental pressures or a genetic predisposition to addictive behaviors caused by physiological deficiencies in the mesolimbic pathway or any of a number of other interrelated systems, is to malign responsible drug users and minimize the excruciating struggle of addicts.
In other words, it's lazy, supercilious bullshit.
It's kind of inspiring that you don't let a little thing like knowing absolutely nothing about a topic keep you from making categorical proclamations based entirely on your own ignorance and prejudices. It sure is easier to make sweeping pronouncements about a thing than it is to spend 10 minutes with Google and learn some Actual Facts before you respond to a reader's letter asking for advice about his boyfriend's recently odd behavior! But could it be that your willfully obtuse and glibly condescending attitude toward people who use drugs other than pot (which you never shut up about) reflects your desperation to distance yourself from the stereotype of the Drug Addicted Faggot and his cousin, The Guy Who Got Aids from a Needle? Could it be you are the same kind of implacably stupid bigot you like to write about in your column?
Pissed At You
So for folks who use meth... only 5% will become "dependent" within two years?
Sorry, PAY, even with the facts at hand—always happy to learn from my readers—my feelings about meth are the same: there's no using meth, only abusing meth. Considering what a meth addiction means, and having seen the damage that drug can do, a one-in-twenty chance of becoming addicted is simply too risky. I've known high-functioning alcoholics and daily pot smokers who had their shit together. But I've never met a daily user of meth who wasn't on his way out, PAY, and most were taking others with them.
But thanks for the download.