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for loved ones

Why chemsex?

What are the risks?

Signs of overdose

How to talk about it

When both partners are chemsex users

  • Chemsex is the consumption of drugs such as crystal meth, GHB/GBL, mephedrone to facilitate sex.

  • Chemsex is typically using apps such as Grindr and attending sex parties or hooking up with others in sessions that can last for several days.

  • Chemsex can lead to difficulties around being able to have sober sex, not being able to stop at the end of the weekend or are using the drugs alone and no longer for recreation.

  • Chemsex can be an “easy” way into a community for people who are isolated.

  • Chemsex may be attractive to people who have shame around sex or their bodies as the drugs provide extreme confidence.

  •  Addictions - Chemsex can lead to an addiction of one or more substances. People can become physically dependent on GHB/GBL.

  • Psychological impact – the drug use can cause anxiety, psychosis and generally poor mental health. People may not eat or sleep for days at a time.

  • Sexual health risks – People who have been using drugs are less likely to look after their sexual health and be aware of other people’s sexual health.

  • Consent- when someone is under the influence of substances, it can be difficult to give and receive consent.

  • Psychosis – hallucinations, delusions, emotional changes, suicidal thoughts, confused or disturbed thoughts, aggression.

  • Deep snoring/gurgling noises

  • You can’t wake the person up, don’t respond if you shake their shoulders or call their name

  • A blue tinge to the lips, nail beds or other extremities

  • They have stopped breathing


  • Try to talk when not in a crisis situation or arguing with a loved one

  • Prepare for the conversation, make some notes or even write the person a letter beforehand

  • Approach the conversation in a non-judgmental, supportive and understanding way

  • If the conversation does not go well plan how are you going to leave it

  • Consider how you will take care of yourself following it.  


If you and your partner are both in recovery, consider:

  • Identifying personal goals and how they align

  • How can you each support one another

  • Is your partner helpful to your recovery

  • What is your personal support network outside the relationship

  • Can you take a break to focus on yourself


Chemsex is more complex than other addictions as it has the added element of sex, as well as drugs, which can make it more difficult to discuss with friends and family. Stigma and shame can prevent individuals feeling able to be open and honest. There is also the additional barrier that support networks may not have the knowledge or understanding around Chemsex and the specific drugs used.


Family and friends support group:

For more advice around supporting a loved one, visit:


Loved Ones Support
Loved Ones Support
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