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Chemsex

In the gay scene the use of drugs during sex is a growing worldwide phenomenon. Here, the emergence of the practise of crystal meth and injecting drugs (slamming) is striking. On dating apps and websites, men seek other men with the same intentions for sex, often using screening terms such as ‘high and horny’, ‘party and play’, ‘chems-friendly’, ‘chems, party’, ‘chill out’ or ‘sleazy sex’. Among professionals, sex under the influence of drugs by men who have sex with men (MSM) is known as 'chemsex'.

Added value

Chemsex is often perceived as hotter and kinkier. During chemsex, multiple substances are often combined. Under the influence of uppers like cocaine, ecstasy, MDMA, speed or crystal meth boundaries are shifted, and orgasm is delayed, meaning that sex can last for a long time. When mixed with downers such as GHB, GBL and ketamine, sex is perceived as more intense.

In the Netherlands in particular, the use of crystal meth and injecting drug use among MSM is increasing steadily. Crystal meth, or ‘tina’, is typically used during a sex date or sex party in a private setting. Tina is by far the most powerful stimulant available on the European drug market. The use gives an intense euphoria, especially when slammed. But because the comedown can take days and is often accompanied by intense craving, the temptation is sometimes irresistible, and many men find it difficult to maintain control over its use.

Tina and slamming in a sexual setting

Over 2014 and 2015, Mainline carried out research into the use of tina and slamming in sexual settings. Before this, neither phenomena among MSM had ever been investigated or studied in the Netherlands. This research led to the identification report "Tina and Slamming” written by Mainline in collaboration with Soa Aids Netherlands. The report is based on Dutch statistical data, a literature review and 27 in-depth interviews with MSM who use crystal meth. In addition, professionals who work with MSM were interviewed. However, due to the limited number of statistically relevant figures, there is still little known about the prevalence of crystal meth use and injecting drug use among the Dutch MSM population.

Into trouble

Mainline found that a large group of gay men consciously use drugs in a safe and controlled manner and don’t face any serious health or sexual problems. Yet a growing number of men face both social and health problems due to chemsex. They regularly contend with physical complaints such as insomnia, decreased resistance and weight loss as well as mental problems such as anxiety, depression, psychosis and even suicidal tendencies.

Chemsex meetings

For the past two years, Mainline has organised fortnightly meetings for gay and bisexual men who use drugs during sex, as well as meetings for men who want to use drugs more and for men who have now have stopped chemsex. Mainline provides a safe environment where men can talk about the responsible use of chems, or life without chemsex. Mainline provides information and gives support in aid of reducing possible health damage. 


Awareness material for MSM
Mainline has developed a brochure containing practical information about safe and responsible slamming, reducing the risk of psychosis and softening the comedown (hangover) Two booklets about chemsex have also appeared. For more information, please visit our webshop.

Website sexntina.nl
In 2018, Mainline and SOA AIDS Netherlands launched a website for men who have sex with men (MSM) who use crystal meth (and other drugs) used in a sexual setting. The site is both informative for the target group and professionals. See: https://sexntina.nl/en/ 

Chemsex and professionals
Mainline focuses on improving support for men who are affected by chemsex. We focus on increasing knowledge and understanding among professionals and think about developing effective strategies to help professionals in their wok. We offer professionals custom made presentations and training in the health and addiction sector, organise expert meetings, host networking meetings etc. For more information, check our training page

Chemsex chat
Do you have questions? Are you looking for information, help or support? Or do you want to share your chemsex experience? Our team is online every Tuesday and Wednesday between 15:00 and 18:00 on our chemsex chat.

Our current projects


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Chemsex

In the gay scene the use of drugs during sex is a growing worldwide phenomenon. Here, the emergence of the practise of crystal meth and injecting drugs (slamming) is striking. On dating apps and websites, men seek other men with the same intentions for sex, often using screening terms such as ‘high and horny’, ‘party and play’, ‘chems-friendly’, ‘chems, party’, ‘chill out’ or ‘sleazy sex’. Among professionals, sex under the influence of drugs by men who have sex with men (MSM) is known as 'chemsex'.

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Harm reduction for stimulant users

A MAINLINE-GIZ STUDY

With the support of the Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development (GPDPD), a project implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, a team of three Mainline researchers conduct a study into effective harm reduction interventions for stimulant users. The study includes a detailed description of eight best practices in different world regions. 

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Bridging the Gaps2: 2016 - 2020

Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Tanzania and Vietnam (new!)

The Bridging the Gaps programme started its second phase in January 2016 and will continue to 2020. The shared goals remain the same as the first programme: to improve the health and rights of people who use drugs, sex workers and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs fundsBridging the Gaps. Mainline is one of the lead organisations to focus on the health and rights of people who use drugs. 

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Nepal

Nepal has a long history of drug use. Cannabis is sanctioned for use on certain religious occasions. The use of smoked opium has been quite common in the country. But drug use only began to be seen as a problem in the country in the mid-1960s and early 1970s with the influx of travelling hippies from Europe and the US.

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Georgia

Transition management in Georgia: everyone deserves a second chance!

Everyone deserves a second chance in life. But how can you best support people who were just released from prison? What does quality support look like where it comes to the rehabilitation and resocialisation of inmates, former inmates and probationers? And what level of additional support does a person who uses drugs need in this process? A new project in Georgia intends to set the standard.

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Multi-country study on harm reduction and community involvement

Funded by Bridging the Gaps and set to take place in four countries - Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa and the UK – this study aims to understand how involvement of people who use drugs can influence the quality and availability of harm reduction services.

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Mainline: doping in recreational sports

Although evidence is somewhat scattered, the use of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) is long said to be on the rise in the recreational sport scene. It concerns substances that help people lose weight and/or build stronger muscles. Mainline is part of a new European project that aims to test two online interventions around PIED use. 

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Kenya

Kenya (population 45 million) is an East-African country on the Indian Ocean that borders Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, South-Sudan and Ethiopia.

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South Africa

The main drugs of choice in South Africa are alcohol, cannabis, heroin and methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is locally known as tik. Most heroin is smoked mixed with cannabis, a popular mix called whoonga, cocktail or nyope. Heroin injection, however, has been increasing in recent years. 

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Innovations in Pakistan

Harm reduction programmes to improve the health and rights of People Who Use Drugs (PWUD) show similarities all over the world. In countries where PWUD lack access of quality harm reduction services; are being criminalised; and human rights are being violated, Mainline works hard to promote health and rights to the often ostracised and hidden populations. 

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Vietnam

In the last decade, the use of methamphetamine – also referred to as ‘meth’ or ‘ice’ – has increased significantly throughout Southeast Asia. And Vietnam is not an exception.

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Advocacy for women who use drugs in the MENA region

Mainline works with the Middle East and North Africa Harm Reduction Association (MENAHRA) to improve the position of women who use drugs (WWUD). We designed a manual for local organisations in the MENA region. The aim of this manual is to provide practical guidelines to advocate for harm reduction services for women. 

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Indonesia

Indonesia (pop. 254 million) is located in Southeast Asia and comprises 17,000 islands and 34 provinces.

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Tanzania

Harm reduction in Tanzania: a delicate balance Under the Bridging the Gaps 2 programme, Mainline aspires to support harm reduction services in Tanzania. To fully understand the opportunities, needs and socio-political circumstances, Mainline organised two scoping visits in 2016. The situation for people who use drugs in the United Republic of Tanzania is delicate.

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Our finished projects

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Bridging the Gaps1: 2011 - 2015

Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa and Tanzania (BtG2)

In the context of the Bridging the Gaps program, Mainline works with local partners in five countries to improve the health and human rights of drug users.

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Georgia

Back to Society

Over two years ago, a new government came to power in Georgia. Many prisoners were then released at a rapid pace. They were not well prepared for their release and encountered problems with reintegration. Among these persons were many who use drugs.

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The Netherlands & Belgium

Prevention of GHB overdose

In the Netherlands and Belgium, the number of young people frequently using gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) has been rising. GHB is used in nightlife. It is estimated that in the Netherlands alone there is a group of 22,000 people who use GHB daily and who have developed a strong physical dependence on GHB.

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Georgia

Hepatitis C care for PUD

From 2014 till 2015 Mainline, together with its local partner Tanadgoma, implemented a series of interventions around Hepatitis C (HCV). The aim of the project was to understand the gaps and barriers to enrolment in the care cascade of hepatitis C prevention and treatment from the community perspective.

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The Netherlands

Strong connections between use of drugs and unsafe sex work

On the initiative of Mainline, Prostitutie & Gezondheidscentrum 292 / Prostitution & Health Centre 292, P&G292 carried out a survey of male and transgender sex workers between November 2013 and February 2014 in close cooperation with the Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD).

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South Africa

Tikking the Boxes

Until 2014, Mainline worked on the project Tikking the Boxes in South Africa. Since January 2015, South Africa has been participating in the Bridging the Gaps programme.

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