Tweakers: How Crystal Meth Is Ravaging Gay America

By Frank Sanello

Alyson (2005), $15.95

Gay men's penchant for overindulging in the divine — from wine tasting to weekend Burning Man highs — is part of what makes us unique and lands us Smurfy makeover shows on Bravo. Conversely, an aversion to reining in our drive to do whatever feels good because we feel bad also has the pesky tendency to kill us. Take, for example, speed. Delusional paranoia about FBI agents, eye-catching tooth loss, and HIV are just a few of the rewards the interview subjects earn in Frank Sanello's Tweakers: How Crystal Meth Is Ravaging Gay America. And boy is it. Sanello talked with many gay men (and a few gay women) who tell similar stories: self-hate and loneliness leading up to a disastrous chase with the crystal dragon. Tweakers is both hastily and urgently written. Numbers and statistics on speed use culled from various sources overwhelm, and though its characters and stories tend to bleed together, the book still works. The addicts range from a stay-at-home father to Internet sex-chat-room lodgers to an anonymous television star; their disturbing tales include engaging in weeklong crystal-fueled orgies, catching STDs, and enduring financial collapse. The author fires off a machine gun loaded with sad-sack accounts, showing how rapidly and efficiently the drug annihilates, but he never suggests an answer, rarely moralizes, and mercifully steers clear of labeling speed addiction an “illness.”

View Comments