Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Meth Ad Criticized; Company Responds
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 2985 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 2985 times since Sat Sep 1, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

NATIONAL Trans women in sports, Grindr crime, 'Berlin Patient,' trans death
Sports icon Billie Jean King, U.S. National Women's Soccer Team Co-Captain and World Cup Champion Megan Rapinoe, and WNBA stars Layshia Clarendon and Brianna Turner joined more than 150 fellow athletes in women's sports to support ...

Gay News

Stephen Amell, 'Outlander' star to be at Wizard World Chicago
Stephen Amell, known to millions as the crime-fighting vigilante lead in the hit TV series Arrow, will return to Wizard World Chicago on Saturday, Oct. 16. Amell—who also starred in DC Universe vehicles such as DC's ...

Gay News

WORLD False report, Indian activist dies, fashion exhibit, LGBT Awards
In Spain, a man who claimed eight hooded men carved an anti-gay slur on his butt using a knife in a horrific hate crime later said the act was consensual, according to According to police ...

Gay News

WORLD Trapped in Afghanistan, lesbian pioneer, anti-gay crimes, Valencia's bid
Among the Americans trapped in the suburban areas of Kabul, Afghanistan, under Taliban control was Josie Thomas, 32, a transgender government contractor for the U.S. State Department and former U.S. Air Force Sergeant, The Washington Blade ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Biden nominees, San Diego crime, HRC, Fox News contributor
President Joe Biden reappointed out lesbian Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum as a commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which is an advisory post pertaining to issues of religious freedom, Gay City News reported. ...

Gay News

Wis. man attacks trans couple but won't be charged with a hate crime
In Wisconsin, a La Crosse official said incomplete state laws prevented them from charging a man with a hate crime after he attacked a transgender couple in a public park, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. La ...

Gay News

Analysis of hate crime laws finds limitations, opportunities, rising hate violence
--From a Movement Advancement Project, National Center for Lesbian Rights press release - With a rise in hate violence across the country, a new report from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and 16 leading civil rights organizations provides a groundbreaking analysis of state and federal hate crime laws. The ...

Gay News

Gay Calif. donor convicted in deaths of two Black men
On July 27, a federal jury convicted wealthy California political donor Ed Buck, 66, on charges he injected gay men with methamphetamine in exchange for sex, leading to two deaths and other overdoses, CBS News reported. ...

Gay News

Billy Masters
"I'd still be full of jokes and fun, but no more naked pranks. I can see now my actions were pretty juvenile but this was a different time and it's something I would not do today."—John Barrowman told The Daily Mail ...

Gay News

WORLD Anti-LGBTQ crimes, conversion therapy, out prime minister, Pakistan school
In England, police are treating the painting of a homophobic slur on an LGBTQ Pride mural as a hate crime, the BBC reported. The wall in St Helens, Merseyside, which was painted by volunteers and artists ...

Gay News

WORLD Historic ruling, Pope Francis, photo contest, Methodist Church
In a first-of-its-kind decision in Latin America, The Inter-American Court of Human Rights found the Honduran state guilty of the extrajudicial execution of transgender activist Vicky Hernandez, which occurred June 28-29, 2009, according to The Washington ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Panic defense, VP Kamala Harris, Black LGBTQ app, crime items
Four states and the nation's capital have taken action to ban the so-called LGBTQ "panic defense," which is a legal strategy used by defendants to cite a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity as an excuse ...

Gay News

Employee fired for using gay slur at Indiana Arby's
An employee at an Arby's restaurant in Lafayette, Indiana, was fired after writing a homophobic slur on the receipt of a gay couple, NBC News reported. Craig Gray and John Burns were dining at the restaurant ...

Gay News

When crime goes viral
Activists say Illinois's law that makes it illegal to expose others to HIV is racist and homophobic. Now they're close to changing it.
In early 2016, Jimmy Amutavi had what he considered a happy life. More ...

Gay News

Incarceration for HIV crimes in Georgia cost the state $9 million
--From a press release - Between 1999-2020, as many as 133 people were incarcerated in Georgia prisons for HIV-related crimes New analysis from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that as many as 133 people have been incarcerated ...


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.