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A public awareness campaign featuring posters of convicted methamphetamine dealers has drawn an angry response from gay activists.

Last week, federal prosecutors in Manhattan unveiled the posters, which have the defendants' names, mug shots and warnings like, "Over six years for selling crystal meth. Was it worth it?" They planned to plaster them in homosexual neighborhoods that have been ravaged by the highly addictive stimulant.

Activists responded Tuesday by accusing authorities of needlessly vilifying gay men who were caught selling small amounts of crystal meth. They also argued the campaign could undermine efforts within the gay community to treat addicts and discourage potential users.

"Gay men telling other gay men that crystal is dangerous is one thing," said Peter Staley of the Crystal Meth Working Group. "It is quite another thing for government, especially law enforcement agencies, to threaten gay men with what look like 'wanted' posters."

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