Sigma Research

Predictors of crystal methamphetamine use in a community-based sample of UK men who have sex with men

International Journal of Drug Policy, 2016, 36:43–46 (doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.06.010).

Authors: G.J. Melendez-Torres, Chris Bonell, Ford Hickson, Adam Bourne, David Reid, Peter Weatherburn


Background: Crystal methamphetamine (‘crystal meth’) use by men who have sex with men is an ongoing public health issue in the UK. We conducted a descriptive epidemiological study to characterise demographic and socio-sexual risk factors for crystal meth use in a national sample of UK MSM recruited in late 2014.

Methods: We used data from the 2014 Gay Men's Sex Survey (n = 16,565), an online community-based survey in the UK. We used logistic regression to relate risk factors to last-year use of crystal meth.

Results: In univariate models, crystal meth use was significantly associated with being between the ages of 30 and 49 (30-39, OR 2.24; 40-49, OR 2.21), living in London, having received a positive HIV test result (OR 7.37, 95% CI [6.28, 8.65]), and with higher education qualifications (1.40, [1.13, 1.75]), as well as with having multiple steady (2.15, [1.73, 2.68]) and non-steady (13.83, [10.30, 18.58]) partners with condomless anal intercourse. Relationships were similar in multivariate models, but education was no longer associated with last-year crystal meth use and lack of full-time employment was.

Conclusions: This analysis confirms and updates previous findings from the UK. Crystal meth use may now be more concentrated in London since previous surveys. This analysis presents novel findings regarding the association between number and sexual risk with partners and last-year meth use.


Epidemiology, Crystal methamphetamine, Men who have sex with men

For a copy of the full article please email Ford Hickson.

Available online