Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia see the most people using drugs to enhance sexual pleasure than anywhere else on the continent.
It is a trend that health experts say can greatly exacerbate STD and HIV transmission.
It comes after Spanish health experts launched a study called 99 key questions about Chemsex, in a bid to raise awareness about the dangers of using illicit lab-made drugs to prolong and enhance sex.
These include mephedrone, methamphetamine and GHB (Gamma Hydroxibutarate), often added to a cocktail of cocaine, MDMA, poppers and other substances by chemsex participants, and mostly affects the LGBT+ community.
“We’re facing an STD epidemic,” Ignacio Pérez, doctor at Madrid’s La Paz University Hospital and author of the study, said.
Their research suggests between 29-37% of people taking part in chemsex in Spain are HIV positive.
“We’ve got patients who had a completely normal life but as a result of chemsex they have developed a psychotic disorder or showed the initial signs of schizophrenia,” he added, highlighting that Chemsex participants don’t see themselves as addicts.
In fact, their research shows that Spaniards using drugs to enhance sex have a different profile to most drug users.”
“Most are Spanish nationals (71.6%), homosexual (96%), single (61.1%), city dwellers who are university educated (67,9%) and holding down good jobs (83.5%),” the study reads.
“Their average age is 35.”
Some 33% of gay men in Spanish cities said they had practiced chemsex, compared to between 4-16% in other European cities.
Experts said hookup apps like Grindr, Scruff and Hornet have made it easier for people to meet and engage in chemsex.
“Do not imagine that in all cases there are twenty people gathered Sodom and Gomorra style,” Dr Perez clarifies.
“Chemsex can be a single person with his computer and a glass pipe having sex online or couples who want to experience new sensations.”
He added: “But these addictive practices are the refuge of many men with problems of acceptance relating to their homosexuality.”
He also said there needed to be a tougher mental health approach, with so far only one unit of assistance against chemsex in Spain being opened in Barcelona.
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