‘Chem-sex’ parties on the rise

The EU’s drug agency is concerned over the emergence of “chem-sex” parties where users inject themselves with drugs then engage in “risky sexual practices”.

EU experts say that the trend for injecting synthetic drugs such as cathinones and crystal meth is on the rise in London and other European cities.

Of particular concern is that party goers are injecting crystal meth and other forms of methamphetamine stimulants. The cathinones family of synthetic chemicals, which includes the recently banned drug mephedrone (also known as the “legal high” party drug “meow meow”) is usually snorted as a powder or swallowed as tablets.

However, the annual report of the EU’s monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction says that they have recorded localised incidences of partygoers injecting the drugs, including at so-called “chem-sex” parties in Britain.

The EU’s Lisbon-based drugs agency says that the developing situation must be carefully watched: “To date, this new practice, associated with risky sexual practices, has been reported in some large cities. Given the potential impact of the emerging patterns of cathinone injection identified, close monitoring of the issue is a public health priority,” they say.

Europe’s drug problem is becoming increasingly complex, creating new challenges for public health. The use of more established drugs such as cocaine, heroin and cannabis is on the decline, however there are a number of new threats in the form of synthetic drugs including psychoactive substances and the abuse of pharmaceutical drugs. 

The agency’s “early warning system” was notified of 81 new substances in 2013, bringing the total number of drugs monitored by the agency to more than 350, with almost 250 substances being detected over the last four years. The experts say that the system is coming under increasing pressure due to the variety and amount of new drugs emerging. 

The report says that in some EU countries these substances, regarded as potentially more harmful than traditional drugs, are now targeting the main sectors of the drug market.