The prevalence of drugs in the gay scene
A lot of people who aren’t immersed in the gay scene may not realize it, but drugs are rampant in the community, even today. It’s often party drugs that get a lot of attention, like GHB, ecstasy, and cocaine. A show like Will & Grace never would’ve been able to talk about this issue but Queer as Folk went there.
The boys are often seen snorting poppers, a popular drug in the gay community, and it’s assumed that Brian also does harder drugs as well, which the other boys sometimes partake in. It’s all fun and games when they’re partying or having sex, but Queer as Folk didn’t want to just glamorize drug use for its viewers, so they had to show the dark side too. One episode in particular on season one showed the serious repercussion of recreational drugs.
Ted meets a hot guy named Blake at Babylon who starts flirting with him. He thinks he’s wildly out of his league, so he’s shocked when he agrees to go home with him. Blake convinces him to try GHB, which has disastrous results. He falls into a coma and Blake flees. Blake makes more appearances later in the season, “tweaked out” on crystal meth, so Ted tries to get him help, but Blake doesn’t take it seriously. Ted later develops his own addiction to crystal meth, and participates in an adult film due to that addiction. While there is nothing negative about being a part of an adult film, the issue here more so is that Tedd made that decision and others while under the influence — leading to doing things one may not have done so when sober.
It would have been easy to only show the characters using drugs recreationally, but it wouldn’t be authentic to ignore the darker side of the issue. Brian, Blake, and Ted all represent real types of gay men out there.