GAY MAGAZINE OPENLY ADVERTISING DRUGS; POLICE COMMISSIONER COPS COMPLAINT


Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Independent gay activist GARY BURNS has lodged a complaint with NSW Police Commissioner ANDREW SCIPIONE over the advertising of illegal drugs in a Sydney gay magazine.
SX News, the weekly gay magazine published by the Evolution Publishing group, is openly advertising the sale of amyl nitrate (aka ‘poppers’).
Advertisements for the ‘Rush Popper Shop’ appear in the magazine, featuring prominent links to the URL www.rushpoppershop.com.au where brands of amyl nitrate such as Rush, Ram, Colt and Jungle Juice are sold. 
Amyl nitrate is used medically for certain heart conditions, but is illegal in NSW without a doctor’s prescription.
In some sections of the gay community, amyl nitrate is used recreationally during sexual intercourse, for its side effect of relaxing anal sphincter muscles. 
The drug is on the Poisons List and is illegal in NSW under Section 16 of Poisons and Therapeutic Drugs Act, which makes it an offence to possess a prescribed restricted substance without a lawful excuse.
Harmful side effects of amyl nitrate can include headaches, heart attacks, brain damage and death. 
Gary Burns said he had lodged the complaint out of concern for his community.
“Young gay men pick up this magazine for free from cafes, bars, pubs and nightclubs all over Sydney,” he said.
“They may not be aware of the possibility of serious side effects from amyl, and my fear is that some of them could be encouraged to buy these dangerous products.
“That is of course the aim of advertising – to get people to buy the product.
“This product should not be advertised anywhere. It can kill you. And the thing about being dead is that you don’t suddenly wake up and ask, ‘What’s for dinner, Mum?’ It’s forever.”
Mr Burns alleged that the advertising of illegal drugs in SX News was part of a wider drug culture at Evolution Publishing.
The group’s publisher, PETER WALTON, is currently facing serious drug charges for the possession of crystal meth and GHB.
Walton will appear at Sydney’s Downing Centre Criminal Court on Tuesday, June 28 to face the charges.
Mr Burns called on advertisers to withdraw their support from the magazine in light of the magazine’s promotion of drug culture.
“In the latest issue of SX we see organisations like Audi, Hunter Holden, the City of Sydney, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Swans supporting the magazine.
“I ask these organisations: Do you really want to be involved with a publication where the publisher is facing serious drug charges and possibly jail time, and where the magazine itself is advertising illicit substances that can kill you?
“Next, they’ll be advertising eccies to sprinkle on your Weeties in the morning instead of sugar,” Mr Burns concluded.
ENDS
Media enquiries:
Gary Burns
Further information:
www.sxnews.com.au Rush Popper Shop advertisement appears on page 44 of current issue (SX # 545, June 20) and in all back issues this year. 
Evolution Publisher Peter Walton is due to appear at Downing Centre Criminal Court 9.30am Tuesday, June 28. 
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GARY BURNS CALLS ON GAY COMMUNITY TO REFORM ITSELF AFTER NEW DRUG SCANDAL

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

City Voice Publisher Peter Walton

Well-known Sydney gay activist GARY BURNS has called on the the gay community to reform itself as the community is rocked by yet another high-profile drug scandal.
PETER WALTON, the publisher of all seven titles owned by Evolution Publishing – Australia’s largest gay and lesbian publishing house – has been charged with possession of illicit drugs and is due to appear in court on June 28.
Walton, the publisher of SX News (Sydney), City Voice (Sydney), MCV (Melbourne), Blaze(Adelaide), Queensland PrideAXN (the national gay men’s magazine) and Cherrie (the national lesbian magazine) will appear at Sydney’s Downing Centre Criminal Court at 9.30am on Tuesday, June 28 after allegedly being caught in possession of 3.5 grams of crystal meth and an undisclosed quantity of GHB.
The arrest of Walton, who lives in the Harry Seidler-designed Horizon Building (aka Sydney’s ‘tower of power’), marks the latest in a long tine of gay community drug scandals, said Mr Burns.
“Earlier this year we had the unsavoury prospect of ACON*, our self-proclaimed gay and lesbian health and wellbeing organisation, putting out a ‘how to take drugs’ guide, which drew national and international negative publicity for our community.,” he said.
“Every year we have a host of Mardi Gras drug busts, with huge quantities of crystal meth, GHB, ecstasy, cocaine and all sorts of other drugs seized” he added.
“Evolution Publishing itself rose from the ashes of Satellite Media in 2005, which was the brainchild of gay media tycoon GREG FISHER, who’s cooling his heels in jail on drug charges until 2012.”
Mr Burns said he was tired of his community being associated with illegal drugs and called on the collective community to clean up its act.
“Frankly, I’m sick to death of it and I’m embarrassed,” he said.
“All this rampant drug-taking by Gay Inc. gives a very bad example for young gays and lesbians, who understandably form the impression that illegal drugs are an essential part of being gay,” he said.
“We as a community need to put the crystal pipe down, flush the eccies down the toilet, throw the syringes away and take a good hard look at ourselves.
“Not only for our own good but for the good of the next generation.”
Burns added that he had heard rumours for years about rampant drug-taking at Evolution Publishing, and called on advertisers – including the NSW Government – to stop propping it up.
“The biggest single advertiser in Evolution Publishing is ACON, which is funded almost entirely by the NSW Government,” said Mr Burns.
“This means NSW taxpayers are propping these dance bunny drug takers up.
“I ask the taxpayers of NSW: is this how you want your hard-earned taxes to be spent?
“No, I didn’t think so.”
ENDS
Media enquiries:
* ACON was formerly known as the AIDS Council of NSW. 
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