September 29, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

WeHo Council Approves Free Fentanyl Test Strips

With the rise of opioid overdoes on the rise both nationally and locally, West Hollywood City Council approved Monday a proposal to distribute free fentanyl testing strips throughout the city. 

“These strips and this intervention are a targeted effort to help make sure that people do not overdose accidentally,” newly appointed Mayor John D’Amico said in an interview with the Pride L.A. “People at risk of overdose include regular users and infrequent or once a year partiers; it would be best if folks didn’t use at all, but until then providing additional knowledge is a way to protect the entire community from experiencing another unnecessary overdose tragedy.”

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as OxyContin, codeine, morphine, etc. 

“People use cocaine, crystal meth and other substances,” Councilmember John Duran said via Facebook. “Some are addicts. Some are casual users. But no one expects to die from cocaine or meth use.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2016, synthetic opioids were involved in nearly 50 percent of opioid-related deaths, up from 14 percent in 2010. The number continues to increase annually, with roughly 28,400 deaths from overdoses involving synthetic opioids in 2017, an almost 47 percent increase from the previous year.  

“The smallest amounts of fentanyl can be deadly. But users do not know that their drugs are laced with it,” Duran said via Facebook. “So, there are fentanyl testing strips that can be used to determine if the cocaine or meth has any fentanyl in it. And the casual user or addict can avoid those drugs that are laced with fentanyl.”

The dramatic rise in synthetic opioid overdose deaths has been driven primarily by a rise in deaths involving fentanyl, which is manufactured legally for medical use, but can also be produced illicitly and sold on the illegal drug market. The drug is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and the intervention period for a fentanyl overdose can be as short as 45 seconds. Illegal fentanyl can be sold as a powder, in eye droppers or nasal sprays, or made into pills that look like real prescription opioids. 

“Our city has a higher than average overdose rate and along with that an emergency services call rate that is also high,” D’Amico said. “For every person that overdoses 10-15 others have called for emergency services because of a fear of overdose. We need to be sure that we are reaching those people before they need rescue services.” 

Fentanyl test strips are a form of inexpensive drug testing technology that has been shown to be effective at detecting the presence of fentanyl and fentanyl-analogs in drug samples prior to ingestion. In order to use the test strips, testers dissolve a small amount of substance in water, and then dip the test strip into the liquid for 15 seconds. The test strip is then set on a flat surface until results appear, usually within five minutes. 

One line indicates fentanyl is present in the sample; two lines indicate a negative result. The use of fentanyl test strips may reduce the likelihood of fentanyl-related overdoses. Fentanyl test strips are a reliable, common-sense means of providing people at risk of fentanyl exposure with more information that may increase their safety. The goal of the fentanyl test strips is to prevent deaths due to overdose and help engage people who inject drugs in care. 

The City, through its Social Services Division, provides resources and programming to community members facing addiction issues. The City contracts with agencies to provide a variety of programs to address substance use, including residential treatment, transitional housing, outpatient substance abuse treatment, and street outreach. 

The City’s HIV and Substance Abuse Providers meetings occur bi-monthly and usually draw 20-30 agency representatives who serve West Hollywood and the surrounding communities. The goal of these meetings is to learn about programs and services, share information, and discuss timely topics related to HIV and substance abuse.

D’Amico said that fentanyl testing strips will distributed by the LALGBT center and APLA Health through their outreach and prevention programs and at city sponsored community events. 

Related Posts

Trans Lifeline, A Transgender Crisis Hotline Run By Trans People

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

Trans Lifeline, which describes itself as the only crisis hotline for trans people operated entirely by trans people, is flooded...

2020 Tony Awards Will Be Virtual

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

Producers of the Tony Awards have announced that the 74th annual ceremony to honor the best on Broadway will be...

WeHo Bar Gold Coast Closing Permanently

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

Gold Coast, one of the oldest gay bars in West Hollywood, is closing permanently after 39 years.  The Gold Coast...

National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Action Network

September 20, 2020

September 20, 2020

The National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Action Network (the Network) launched a new campaign that urges presidential candidates to address issues of...

Helen Albert Farmers’ Market To Reopen

September 20, 2020

September 20, 2020

The City of West Hollywood will reopen the Helen Albert Certified Farmers’ Market at Plummer Park from 9 a.m. to...

Supreme Court Justice & LGBTQ Ally Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dead At 87

September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away on Sept. 18th at the age of 87, the court has...

Ross Victory Standing For Bisexuality

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Los Angeles singer-songwriter and author Ross Victory gives the reader a detailed vision of his life as a bisexual minority...

WeHo Cooling Center At Plummer Park

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

With temperatures expected to rise to more than 90 degrees over the next week, the City of West Hollywood will...

Golden Girls Puppet Parody

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Jonathan Rockefeller, acclaimed American/Australian producer, director, and writer, has announced that 16 new, original episodes of That Golden Girl Show!...

Los Angeles CEO Jeffrey Previte Caught Beating Dog

September 12, 2020

September 12, 2020

Jeffrey Previte, the CEO of EBI Consulting an environmental consulting firm in Los Angeles, was captured on camera at the...

To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar 25th Anniversary

September 12, 2020

September 12, 2020

The cult classic “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar” hugely popular in the LGBTQ+ community celebrates its 25th...

Trans Women Will No Longer Be Incarcerated In Men’s Prisons In California

September 12, 2020

September 12, 2020

After passing the state legislature with a vote of  29 in favor and 10 against, Senate Bill 132 is headed...

Love In Action Telethon

September 10, 2020

September 10, 2020

Love In Action, a telethon to support the LGBTQ+ community during the COVID pandemic will be airing live on Sept.12th...

Rage Nightclub Permanently Closing

September 10, 2020

September 10, 2020

After 37 years Rage nightclub located at the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente in West Hollywood...

OUTFEST Announces “Taiwan Program”

September 6, 2020

September 6, 2020

The 2020 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan (R.O.C) and Taiwan Academy...