The dearth of meth-related programs here comes as no surprise to West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran. "I did 10 years behind the Orange Curtain," he says, with a laugh. "That's what I tell people: I did time in Orange County."

*     *     *

McKie is taking a break. He's back at his stenography business, waiting for the IRS to process his 501(c)(3) application for Metheds. He says he's going to rest for maybe a month.

Are Ed McKie and MethEds unsuitable for downtown Santa Ana?
Jeanne Rice
Are Ed McKie and MethEds unsuitable for downtown Santa Ana?
McKie hopes local artists such as Joseph Hawa and MethEds can work together
Jeanne Rice
McKie hopes local artists such as Joseph Hawa and MethEds can work together

McKie only recently recovered from pneumocystis pneumonia—a type of pneumonia that really clobbers people with immune-system deficiencies—but that didn't stop him from marching a four-mile parade route in the sun at LA's Gay Pride festival with Me Not Meth. He says people were shouting from the sidelines how long they had been sober.

Meth is a dirty topic, one that's embarrassing for many addicts to address publicly. McKie and others acknowledge that some of the most vocal opponents of the whole idea of Metheds are members of the gay community, people who accuse him of airing their dirty laundry.

But with success stories like that of West Hollywood and state-sponsored campaigns like Me Not Meth as examples of what is possible, McKie's remains determined to pull back the Orange Curtain just wide enough for Metheds.

"I'm finally getting back on my feet—I do not do hospitals well. But I proved once again that the human body can endure many illnesses provided one does not just give up. Besides," he adds, smiling, "I do not have the money it takes to lounge around in a hospital room for weeks."

vchang@ocweekly.com

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