What is Slamming? Chem Sex Party Drug Injecting On The Rise

What is Slamming? Chem Sex Party Drug Injecting On The Rise

New research from Antidote, the UK’s only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender drug and alcohol support service, reveals a worrying new trend in Britain. According to the service, the number of men who injected drugs during sex has been reaching astronomic levels, from 1% in 2011 to a whopping 60% in 2018. This practice, known as slamming, is rapidly rising in popularity and experts warn that it could trigger a rise in HIV infection rates.


Antidote findings are backed up by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which has issued a warning on the rising slamming rates in the gay community. According to their latest analysis, London is the hotspot for this practice, where three times as many gay men inject drugs compared to the rest of England.


The rise of slamming can be linked to the growing popularity of chem-sex, but in this case, individuals don’t snort or swallow substances, injecting them instead to get a greater high, increased sexual pleasure, and get rid of sexual inhibitions.


The slamming practice is not illegal, but the drugs that are being injected are, so this could become a serious health issue. In addition to the harmful effects of the drugs themselves, experts warn that slamming could have devastating effects and trigger a new HIV crisis, because in most cases men exchange the same kit. Similarly, we could see a rise in drug addiction rates across the UK if this trend continues.


Why is slamming becoming more popular in the gay community?

Slamming is a relatively niche habit in the chem-sex scene – only about 15% of those who go to chem-sex parties experiment with slamming. However, in recent years, this habit has been growing in popularity and it no longer has the same stigma it did in the past.


A few years ago, slamming was rather frowned upon. Now, it’s not uncommon to go through Tinder or Grindr profiles and see users glamourise slamming, without necessarily seeing themselves as drug addicts.


Experts explain that there are many causes behind the rising slamming practice, ranging from social to emotional. First of all, the context in which people take drugs have changed and the chem-sex trend has a role to play here. According to a survey, people in the UK are more likely to combine drugs with sex than those in the US, Canada, Australia or the rest of Europe.


Addiction experts add that, apart from the rise of chem-sex, transitioning from swallowing to injecting drugs is normal addictive behaviour, because the individual builds a resistance to the drug and he’ll always look for ways to get a greater high, faster.


Another cause could be psychological. According to a French study, gay men turn to chem-sex and slamming because they are struggling with loneliness and depression, because they feel that they cannot fit in, and they find it hard to maintain relationships.


A series of interviews carried out by The Independent in the gay chem-sex community revealed that men feel a “love fusion” when they are slamming and that combined with the pleasure of intercourse, drugs help them get rid of inhibitions and feel that they are in a safe environment where they are accepted. In other words, they are using slamming to cope with emotional trauma and substitute a normal relationship. Despite the initial release, slamming is very harmful in the long run, because it only increases the risk of mental health issues.


What are the main risks associated with slamming?

The most commonly used drugs used in slamming are mephedrone and methamphetamine. Addiction experts warn that these are highly addictive, especially in a sexual context, because the brain releases double the dopamine, which makes individuals seek that high more often.


Being under the influence of drugs releases inhibitions and gives a feeling of complete liberation, but it also alters decision-making abilities. While slamming, gay men are more prone to unprotected sex, which increases the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


Then, there is, of course, the biggest risk of all: sharing used needles and kits with other participants. Doctors point out that both HIV and Hepatitis C are easily transmitted through unsafe injection techniques and the context in which slamming occurs is too dangerous to ignore. When you have large groups of men who use the same needless, spreading blood-borne infections is only a matter of time. One thing participants don’t realise is that the danger is still there, even if the needle is apparently clean and there is no blood on it. It can still be contaminated with the HIV virus and unless you are the sole person using that needle, the risk is huge.


The best way to approach and solve the problem

Whether we look at slamming from the perspective of a new HIV crisis or as a harmful practice stemming from emotional insecurity, solving the problem isn’t easy.


Although the general public is quick to accuse those who engage in slamming, members of gay and bisexual support services say that more education is needed to understand this community.


One measure that addiction services are trying to take is helping gay and bisexual men understand the risks associated with hardcore drugs and focus as much as possible on harm reduction. For example, a number of health clinics have been working more closely with the community, explaining the dangers that this practice poses for gay men and their partners. At the same time, they also started campaigns where they hand out sage packs of sterile syringes, spoons and thermometers. The needles are colour-coded, so partners don’t mix them up with their partner’s and don’t have to risk sharing used needles.


Gay and bisexual men who practice slamming and are worried about their and their partner’s health are advised to seek the help of local addiction services, because there are ways to minimise risks.


If you or a loved one needs help with a drug addiction, then feel free to call our free helpline on 0203 955 7700 and speak to one of our addiction experts who can advise you on the best course of action to live a drug free life.

Dipesh Pattni / 10th April 2019/ Posted in: Latest News


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Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Diazapam (vailium)

Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Nalmefene
  • Acamprosate (campral)

Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

*based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

Local treatment

Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

Treatment Away

Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.