February 27, 2022

Introducing M3THOD, ACON’s New Peer Led Service Addressing Sexualised Drug Use

Pivot Point has published a couple of blogs outlining how sexuality and gender diverse communities use some substances at higher rates and in unique settings. We’ve even posted a whole section of harm reduction tips about sexualised drug use. We’re now thrilled to be promoting ACON’s new service for people who party and play, ‘M3THOD’.  M3thod is a free and confidential peer led service for gay and bisexual men (cis and trans), trans women, and non-binary people who use either crystal methamphetamine or GHB in combination with sex (aka chemsex, party and play, or PnP).

We had a chat with Justin Xiao the Community Health Promotion Officer for Sexualised Drug Use at ACON about M3THOD, he explained to us how M3THOD works; “appointments with our trained peers usually go for about 45 minutes. Our peers provide people with a non-judgemental space to explore their relationship with party and play, to learn about ways to manage drug use and for those who want to reduce or change their use, our peers can support with that too.”

M3THOD appointments can be delivered in person (when it’s safe) from ACON’s offices or at partnering sexual health clinics in Sydney such as a[TEST]. For folks in other parts of NSW, or those who would just prefer to chat online, M3THOD peers also run telehealth appointments that are very simple to book online.

Speaking about the process of developing M3THOD, Justin let us know that M3THOD was developed in consultation with 16 community members that included gay and bisexual men, trans women and non-binary people who all party n play. He told us that the service is based on principles of motivational interviewing, and added “those who helped us develop M3THOD told what was really important for the service especially to be person centred. So, our peers aim to meet people where they are at and can support people who might just want to learn how to stay safe and support those who may wish to change to how frequently they are using.”

We know that people in sexuality and gender diverse communities can experience barriers to accessing health care and we see this play out among people who party n play too. Justin reflected, “some people who PnP don’t want to be open and honest about their sexualised drug use when speaking to a health professional, this might be because they are afraid that they will be judged. PnP is a sensitive and stigmatised topic and because of stigma some people who might benefit from talking about it don’t feel able to.”

When chatting about the importance of M3THOD being a peer led service Justin let us know that  people who have attended M3THOD appointments so far have told us that “they felt comfortable to share parts of their experience with a peer, feeling safe in the knowledge that peers come with their own lived experiences and that they are relatable and non-judgmental.”

Although M3THOD peers receive great training and bring with them a lot of expertise by experience, Justin clarified that peers don’t work without support. “We’re really lucky to be supported by a great team of counsellors through ACON’s Substance Support Counselling service. M3THOD has been developed in partnership with counsellors here at ACON and our colleagues at the Stimulant Treatment program at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney. Some people come to M3THOD and want support with getting into other drug and alcohol services, our peers can help with that. I think our peer led service in this space is really unique and beneficial, but we can definitely connect our clients to a range of other services and supports too!”

If you think M3THOD might benefit you or a friend, check out the service at the booking page here. If you make a booking the M3THOD team will aim to send through a confirmation within 2 business days. If you’ve got any other questions or feedback about M3THOD email sduproject@acon.org.au