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Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free. Nothing about Theresa's Noxzema-fresh face, curvy body, and just-washed auburn hair reveals the hell she put herself through for more than 20 years. She's years past her brief career as a second-grade schoolteacher, when she counted down the hours until she'd get home to do more tweak.

That lasted just one semester, before Theresa began dancing at a strip club in central Phoenix, where she graduated from the diet pills she'd been using since she was 14 to smoking the street meth her brother was cooking up. There, she began smuggling "glass" -- one of a dozen street names for high-grade crystal meth -- back and forth between Guam and the Philippines. She came back to the Valley, worked as a high-cost hooker for an escort agency, made a couple dozen porno films, and never stopped tweaking.

But the kind of uninhibited, disconnected, sometimes violent, and often unprotected sex that tweakers obsess about, hunting for orgasms as they would a gram of meth. More so than any other drug. Theresa is sitting inside a smoke-filled room at the Willow House today with two fellow ex-tweakers, Randy and Robert. The three are here to share a graphic, cautionary tale. Just 20 feet behind the coffee house is a meeting hall, where their step recovery program -- which they Eat drink sleep be Tucson bbw remains unnamed so they're not seen as speaking for the group as a whole -- gathers weekly.

She worked in a dominatrix's dungeon, and allowed her clients to hang her upside down with her arms tied behind her back until she passed out. Then they had their way with her. She liked to smoke meth -- or sometimes "slam" it intravenously -- while a trick "fucked me from behind," she says. And when she wasn't "working," she still needed sex -- from her boyfriends, girlfriends, and from herself.

I can't say exactly how many," she says. Unlike other narcotics -- namely cocaine, universally regarded as the sex drug of the s and '80s -- crystal meth makes women just as horny as men. It turns them into raging sexaholics, just like their male counterparts -- gay and straight -- looking to live out the most deviant of their sexual fantasies. But with meth, it's very powerful and positive," Rawson says.

Theresa was lucky. She caught herpes, and a bad case of crabs once. But she's never tested positive for gonorrhea, syphilis or HIV. She's been pregnant, though -- a lot -- but never had. Theresa ended up having 12 abortions, and doubts she could ever get pregnant again. Officials at Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona estimate that the of abortions had by meth users has quadrupled in recent years.

And one state employee who works closely with Child Protective Services calls meth a fertility drug.

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See "Ice, Ice, Baby" for more details about meth moms. As reports of HIV infections increase in Maricopa County, local health officials say widespread meth use is to blame. The meth problem in the Valley's gay community, where most of Arizona's HIV-positive cases have been reported, has been pervasive for years. Yet even with more than 40 percent of local HIV patients reporting that they are also meth users -- ificant because tweakers are much less likely to use protection, HIV-positive or not -- there's been no ificant public health campaign in Maricopa County warning of the dangers of having sex while tweaking.

There certainly hasn't been an effort like that made in other major metropolitan cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, or San Francisco, where city leaders and nonprofit agencies are pre-emptively targeting gay men before they use meth for the first time. The Stop AIDS Project credits a series of public health awareness campaigns coordinated in part by the agency for a nearly 50 percent drop in meth use among gay and bisexual men in San Francisco. That's not the case in Phoenix, where health officials admit they've done little, if anything, to address what a huge problem meth and sex present.

For the sex-addicted tweakers, if they manage to be sober long enough to get into recovery and therapy -- like Theresa, Randy and Robert -- there is a lifetime of sexual reprogramming, somehow learning to disassociate sex from the act of using meth. Crystal meth has an almost instant attraction to dopamine receptors -- commonly referred to as the human brain's "pleasure system" -- more so than other narcotics, according to Brough Stewart, the chemical dependency program director for Banner Behavioral Health in Scottsdale.

It actually stimulates the same part of the brain [the dopamine receptors] that controls sexual arousal. The chemistry of sexual arousal and the chemistry of meth become the same. That's why it's so uniquely different from these other drugs we associate with sex. Which explains why Don Sherrard, who supervises the Phoenix Police Department unit that focuses on searching out and shutting down meth labs, finds "stacks and stacks" of porn at almost every meth house he busts.

Sex toys everywhere. These people have contraptions hooked up all over the bedroom. He says he was once referred to simply as "The Doorman," guarding local meth labs run by biker gangs, protecting both the house and the cooks inside from cops and psychotic tweakers alike. But for willing teenage "sex toys," there was plenty of meth, if not access inside the meth house, for the price of orally satisfying The Doorman. Robert wasn't initially into meth for the sex.

He was only in the seventh grade when he was first exposed to it, weighing cocaine for a friend who happened to have a pocket full of "white crosses. But over the years, working for biker gangs like "The Dozen" and "The Spartans," he was exposed to more women -- more women looking for drugs. You had to go through me," Robert says.

Robert and a fellow tweaker buddy decided it wasn't enough to have their way with young girls who were totally uninhibited on meth; they wanted to film it. They bought a stolen professional-grade video camera, recruited the girls, and then spent hours at a time choreographing the scenes, like big-shot porn directors in the San Fernando Valley. We had to struggle just to get the price we did. Randy, now a beer-bellied process server also in recovery, never made his own porn. But he did do things he wouldn't have done had he not been on meth.

There are some things about that hot summer night that Randy remembers vividly: He left his job as a car salesman to meet up with some fellow tweakers at a house party, he says, as Robert and Theresa nod, almost fondly remembering what those days were like. At the tweaker party, Randy would sell some meth, and smoke a little, too. I was just looking for a receptacle to put my dick in," Randy says.

Randy met eyes with a black-haired girl across the room once he finished getting high. She needed a ride home, and Randy, although he had a girlfriend at the Eat drink sleep be Tucson bbw, needed "to get a nut. So I did. Scott is an HIV-positive tweaker. He's in recovery with Robert, Theresa and Randy, but he relapsed back in September, going on a monthlong meth and sex binge. I was high every time. As a communicable-disease investigator with the county's health department, Varnadore's job is to contact every sex partner new patients can identify.

The new patients are required to inform Varnadore and the county to be eligible for HIV treatment. Varnadore spends most of his time sifting through lists as many as names long of former sex partners who might have been exposed to HIV. The figure sounds high, but not far off from a June assessment of Phoenix's HIV-positive population, funded by a federal grant, that says almost 44 percent have used crystal meth.

What's worse, according to Mark Kezios, the director of HIV services for Pueblo Family Physicians, a clinic in central Phoenix that caters to lower-income patients, is that those same HIV-positive, meth-using patients are still having unprotected sex. Scott says it's not that he doesn't care; after all, he tells every prospective sex partner that he's HIV-positive and has been since Problem is, they tend to make that fateful decision high on "Tina," meth's most common nickname in the gay community.

The easiest way to score meth is by visiting a gay chat room online, Scott says. In fact, his most recent relapse occurred after a late-night cruise on the Web. Eat drink sleep be Tucson bbw sites like gay. But it's becoming more difficult to get hook-ups on some sites, like manhunt. Frustrated, a gay tweaker might head out to any of Phoenix's gay dance clubs, where it's easy to spot the "circuit boys," who travel in packs with supplies of meth, Ecstasy, and poppers from party to party.

The circuit boys will usually wait around until closing time to organize a very exclusive after-hours party where a dozen or more gay men will gather to snort or slam meth, and then begin having unprotected sex, often in groups. If they don't find their way into a meth party, there's always a gay bathhouse. At the bathhouses, men wait inside their private rooms as horny tweakers search for prospective partners and dance music pumps through the PA system. Patrick Kelly, the owner of The Chute a central Phoenix bathhouse and a member of the Phoenix City Council's crystal meth task force spearheaded by councilmen Tom Simplot and Dave Siebert, knows his bathhouse is a tweaker haven.

But, he says, he's done everything he can to eliminate its presence, posting anti-meth s, kicking out drug users, and keeping a three-ring binder of more than names of those who've been 86'ed. I'm not the one responsible for that," Kelly says. It's their own behavior. There's only so much policing I can do. Local law enforcement officials, like Phoenix police meth-lab supervisor Sherrard, know that meth is a huge problem in the gay community, and, he says, they know where to find it. But, he admits, police are doing little to address it. Sherrard tells New Times that police don't want to be seen as "bashing the gay community" by targeting gay bathhouses or dance clubs.

And, in the gay community, meth is such a touchy subject, according to Steve Schimmel, an advertising manager for Echo magazine, Phoenix's most-circulated gay publication. I don't care. This is a huge problem. We need to get in people's faces.

The organization, in conjunction with a citywide effort modeled after other public health campaigns in Chicago, Boston and New York, began a series of similar efforts that included anti-meth posters and meth-and-HIV seminars after a Stop AIDS study in showed that 18 percent of San Francisco's gay and bisexual population were current meth users.

Just a year later, in the midst of the Stop AIDS "Crystal Clear" poster campaign, a survey of 4, gay and bisexual men showed that the of those using meth had decreased to 10 percent. Riggs says that his organization has been pre-emptively targeting gay men who are at the "highest risk" of using meth, before they actually do.

Bruce Porter, the state's HIV coordinator, says that, despite the agency's failure to address the dire public health concerns that arise from the combination of unprotected sex and meth use, it's only a matter of time before public funds are devoted to some type of educational awareness campaign.

We have no idea what commitment is. Theresa's content, she says, Eat drink sleep be Tucson bbw though she knows it's unlikely she'll ever be able to have children because of the dozen abortions she had as a meth addict. Feldman, the counselor for Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona, says he sees women like Theresa with increased frequency. We put the cervical dilators into her cervix [a procedure required for pregnancies past the first trimester] and asked her to come back the next day. We tried to manage her, to keep her in the clinic long enough for her vital s to return to normal for surgery.

But when we tried to get her undressed for the doctor, she refused. Her brain wasn't working right because she was all meth'ed up. So we convinced her that the dilators had to come out. She called me about two weeks later and asked if we would still see her, and I said no. That's a very rare occurrence, but given her drug history, we didn't figure the risk to ourselves was appropriate.

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