Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-03-03



Meth Ad Criticized; Company Responds
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 2950 times since Sat Sep 1, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

A member of the Chicago Crystal Meth Task Force ( CCMTF ) and a local addiction expert have sounded off against a meth addiction advertisement that has appeared in various gay publications.

An ad for PROMETA®, which bills itself as a 'comprehensive addiction treatment,' shows one man holding another ( who appears to be an addict ) along with the line 'He means the world to you. Meth means the world to him. How will you treat it?' In the lower left part of the ad, PROMETA is described as 'a promising new treatment protocol that includes medical, nutritional, and psychological aspects.' However, part of the fine print ( on the right-hand sidee of the ad ) reads, 'Clinical studies are underway to evaluate PROMETA and to confirm reports from physicians using PROMETA in their practices.'

For the past two weeks, local gay publications, including Windy City Times, ran a letter from the CCMTF that warned people, in part, that ' [ d ] espite how wonderful something may appear, there is no 'magic formula' when it comes to treating addiction. If it sounds too good to be true, maybe it is.'

CCMTF's Jim Pickett told Windy City Times that the letter was to make sure that 'people are smart consumers of treatment. [ The letter ] was really spurred by the introduction of these PROMETA ads and the knowledge that Chicago is being targeted by PROMETA.'

Among Pickett's problems with the ad is what's in the fine print. 'If you don't read the small type of the right-hand edge, you won't know that [ this protocol ] is [ un ] proven. Scientific studies and clinical trials are still happening,' he said. ' [ Also, ] the ad is a powerful image of two men; one guy clearly looks sick and pale, and he has pimples and marks on his body. Then you have [ this ] tagline. It's an enticing piece of advertising and we want people to ask questions.'

Pickett added that 'PROMETA still doesn't acknowledge that it's an intervention that's supposed to quell cravings for crystal. They're using FDA-approved drugs off-label. They also don't address all the other psychosocial issues about why people use crystal; you need things like counseling, psychotherapy and group therapy so you can unpack how you got to this point. [ Addiction ] is more than biological. We're complex human beings.'

Dr. Kevin Osten of Lakeshore Hospital's VALEO recovery program agreed with Pickett that there are shortcomings regarding the PROMETA program. ' [ Although ] the medications they're using [ can ] help in terms of calming the craving center of the brain, it's a pretty short program and [ PROMETA's ] pretty secretive about what kind of nutritional counseling they do, what kind of vitamins they give, [ etc. ] ,' he said. 'It's being promoted as this 'quick fix,' and there is no pill or medication that's going to fix addiction. It may help people manage their cravings better, but it doesn't seem to address the ongoing lifestyle changes that need to be made. There's a reason we have people attend 12-step [ programs ] and have them think about their triggers.'

Osten also commented about PROMETA-related studies, saying that 'the initial one was not a controlled experiment, and there was just a 90-day follow-up, so it's not known what the long-term benefits are. I just don't agree with [ the approach that ] you market first and then ... . If you want to have people join the study, that's one thing—but to charge $15,000 for a treatment that hasn't gone through clinical trials is just [ risky ] .'

In addition, he said that 'having a program fit [ the addict ] , versus trying to get them to conform to a certain program' is vital.

Pickett and Osten are not the only ones with doubts about PROMETA. Nora Volkow of the National Institute of Drug Abuse ( NIDA ) testified before a U.S. House subcommittee last year that 'there is no randomized study that has proven the effectiveness of PROMETA,' and that initial studies showing positive results are trials in which 'the placebo effect is likely to compound the results,' according to the California Society of Addiction Medicine Web site. When asked how she feels about PROMETA today, a representative from NIDA e-mailed Windy City Times that the organization 'stands by its testimony.'

To get the company's reaction to the criticisms, Windy City Times spoke with Sanjay Sabnani, senior vice president of strategic development for Hythiam, Inc., which developed the PROMETA protocol. After an initial conversation, Sabnani conferred with several others who he felt would be better equipped to answer the various questions asked him, and e-mailed an official statement.

The statement read, in part, that 'Hythiam agrees that there is no 'magic formula' for the treatment of methamphetamine addiction. It is a complex, multi-factorial disease with many components that may require individualized treatment approaches.

'... The PROMETA treatment programs include nutritional supplements, FDA-approved oral and IV medications used off-label and separately administered in a unique dosing algorithm, as well as psychosocial or other recovery-oriented therapy chosen by the patient and his or her treatment provider.

'As described above, the PROMETA treatment program is not a drug or device; thus, it is not subject to FDA approval. Hythiam is not the manufacturer of the drugs used in the protocol, so it is not our place to seek approval of existing drugs for other indications, nor is it Hythiam's practice to market any drugs.

'Hythiam has intellectual property that it licenses to a treatment provider; it is up to individual physicians to determine whether the entire protocol—including the drugs included—are appropriate for use with their respective patients.

The statement also mentions NIDA: 'We have profound respect for NIDA and understand that it is their responsibility to scrutinize every major breakthrough or treatment paradigm with respect to addiction from an unbiased, research point of view. In October of this year, we believe they will benefit from top-line data from the first randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study of the PROMETA treatment program released by leading investigator Harold Urschel, M.D. ...'

In addition, Hythiam's statement read, 'Currently, there are almost 90 licensed treatment providers in the United States. [ Using ] the PROMETA program in any particular situation is an individualized decision for the doctor and patient.'

This article shared 2950 times since Sat Sep 1, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Billy Masters 2020-04-15
- "If you're gonna wear a mask—and you MUST wear a mask — it better say something."—Original "Dreamgirl" Sheryl Lee Ralph makes her entrance on "Billy Masters LIVE" wearing a black mask encrusted with crystals that spelled ...

Gay News

SMART Recovery offers addiction support to local gay men 2019-05-07
- Chicagoan Anthony Radulovich had already decided he was abstaining from crystal meth, but he wasn't sure that he'd be able to follow through with the commitment if someone put the substance in front of him. He ...

Gay News

Judy Collins at Raue Center in Crystal Lake Feb. 16 2019-02-06
- CRYSTAL LAKE, IL — Raue Center For The Arts is excited to welcome award-winning singer-songwriter Judy Collins to the stage in 2019! The esteemed musician will bring her imaginative interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards ...

Gay News

Doc explores meth use by LGBT persons of color 2018-11-21
- Brooklyn-based filmmaker Michael Rice was among those those on hand to discuss the prevalence and circumstances of crystal methamphetamine use among LGBT persons of color on Nov. 16. The discussion came about following a discussion of ...

Gay News

SPOTLIGHT The Crystal Spider 2018-10-29
- Still searching for (something free, cool and fascinating) to do Halloween? It's final call for Director's Haven 2018, Haven Theatre's showcase of early-career directors. Charlotte Drover's directs Madame Rachilde's "horror ...

Gay News

'HalloWig' fundraiser Oct. 20 at Sidetrack 2018-10-13
- On Saturday, Oct. 20, at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St., 3-6 p.m., there will be a "HalloWig" party to help raise funds for Lurie's Children's Hospital Division of Adolescent Medicine. Sidetrack Chicago, Crystal Head Vodka, MillerCoors ...

Gay News

Bowersox, Mizrahi at City Winery 2018-10-06
- Former American Idol finalist Crystal Bowersox and actor/fashion designer/singer Isaac Mizrahi will be performing at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Oct. 8. Bowersox will perform songs her latest album ...

Gay News

FALL THEATER PREVIEW From Schaumburg to New York, Alexandra Billings puts on a show 2018-09-19
- Roughly 30 years ago, trans* actor/recording artist/pageant queen/activist Alexandra Billings was sentenced to death. The diagnosis: She was HIV-positive. She remembered the doctor's advice with the crystalline clarity: "He said ...

Gay News

WEDDINGS Yospin-Valentour 2017-10-11
- Marcia Yospin and Erin Valentour were married July 15 in the Crystal ballroom in Evanston. Photo of Yospin (left) and Valentour by Rick Aguilar Studios ...

Gay News

Entertainment: Cyndi Lauper, 'This Is Us,' Prince, Edward Albee 2016-12-13
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - At Cyndi Lauper's Home for the Holidays benefit concert at New York's Beacon Theater, she was joined by Billy Corgan for a performance of the Crystals' 1961 song "There's No Other (Like My Baby)," noted. ...

Gay News

Theater Spotlight on Methtacular, Critics' Picks 2016-11-09
- Theater Spotlight Crystal meth is a serious problem, but gay performer/playwright Steven Strafford actually found humor in his own three-year addiction ordeal in METHTACULAR! Strafford's critically acclaimed one-man show previously ...

Gay News

'Methtacular!' Nov. 11-12 2016-11-02
- Methtacular!—Steven Strafford's autobiographical account of his three years as a crystal-meth addict in Chicago—will return Nov. 11-12 as part of Steppenwolf Theatre's LookOut Series. The production will take place at ...

Gay News

Multifaceted event 'Express Yourself' benefits [Trans]formation 2016-10-06
- On Oct. 2, The Nothing Without A Company Theater and The Living Canvas presented "Express Yourself," a gala fundraiser and celebration at The Crystal Ballroom in downtown Evanston. The event featured spoken word, live music, a ...

Gay News

'Express Yourself' gala on Oct. 2 2016-09-28
- Nothing Without a Company and The Living Canvas are hosting The Express Yourself Gala and Fashion Show, a fundraiser for [Trans]formation, on Sunday, Oct. 2, at Evanston's Crystal Ballroom and Lounge, 529 Davis St., 11 a.m.-3 ...

Gay News

Express Yourself Gala and Fashion Show fundraiser for [Trans]formation Oct. 2 2016-09-06
From a press release - Nothing Without a Company and The Living Canvas are delighted to invite you to The Express Yourself Gala and Fashion Show, a fundraiser for [Trans]formation, on Sunday, Oct. 2, at The Crystal Ballroom, from 11am to ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.