Friday, June 16, 2006


Meth is a documentary about crystal methamphetamines, speed, Tina, or whatever other name you give to the drug menace that is cutting a devastating swath through the gay community, as if AIDS hadn't already done enough damage. Crystal meth gives the user a feeling of sexual invincibility, desirability, unshakable self-confidence, and unending endurance. The rush comes at an exceedingly high price, though: just for starters, meth is extraordinarily addictive, hooking many users the very first time they try it. Tweakers often stay awake for four or five days at a time, and that alone is enough to leave an indelible mark on the psyche. One former meth user told me that when he had been awake for a couple of days, his subconscious mind rebelled against the lack of REM sleep by going right ahead and dreaming even though he was awake.

The film Meth focuses on interviews with several meth users, including a couple who were still actively using. They gave unflinching details of the havoc wrought in their lives, including HIV seroconversion, Hepatitis C, losing jobs, homes and possessions, and wrecking relationships. The ones who had quit using spoke of how much they missed the rush, even while proclaiming their intention to stay clean. The ones who were still using gave jaw-dropping rationalizations, talking about how much shit was being dumped into their lives through no fault of their own, but that smashed car sitting at the curb wasn't caused by a random act of fate.

This documentary provides an unvarnished look at both the allure and the downside of a drug that is doing incalculable damage to our community.

Meth, dir. Todd Ahlberg, 2005 USA, 79 min.

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