January 17, 2021 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

WeHo Renaming The West Hollywood Library

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood approved an item to submit a request to rename the West...

LA LGBT Center Receives $100K Grant

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

The Los Angeles LGBT Center has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation to support the...

Oil Can Harry’s Studio City’s Gay Country Bar Closes

January 9, 2021

January 9, 2021

Oil Can Harry’s, the iconic and beloved gay country western line dancing bar, located in Studio City, is closed for...

LA LGBT Center Administers First COVID-19 Vaccines

January 9, 2021

January 9, 2021

The first of 400 doses received by the Center were dispensed by Dr. Ward Carpenter, co-director of health services at...

2021 WeHo Artist Grant Recipients

January 9, 2021

January 9, 2021

The City of West Hollywood has announced three $5,000 grant awards, totaling $15,000, for three resident artists for its 2021...

WeHo Fighting Climate Change

January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021

The City of West Hollywood is currently updating its Climate Action Plan — an effort called “WeHo Climate Action” —...

The Center Offered Free Meals For Those In Need

January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021

With the unemployment rate in Los Angeles County rising due to the Corona-virus pandemic many are struggling to make ends...

Saving Silver Lake Bar Akbar

January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021

Struggling to survive amid the Corona-virus pandemic, iconic LGBTQI+ hangout Akbar took to a fundraising page to ask for help....

Two New Council Members Sworn-In To The City Council Of WeHo

December 20, 2020

December 20, 2020

The City of West Hollywood has sworn-in two newly elected Councilmembers: Sepi Shyne and John M. Erickson. Each Councilmember took...

Meet WeHo’s New Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace

December 17, 2020

December 17, 2020

Brian Sonia-Wallace has been named West Hollywood’s 4th City Poet Laureate making him the youngest person to occupy the role. ...

L.A. Makeup Artist Is First Trans Man To Compete On “RuPauls Drag Race”

December 13, 2020

December 13, 2020

The cast of RuPauls Drag Race Season 13 has been announced this week revealing its first trans man contestant will...

Weho Celebrates 30th Annual Toy And Food Drive

December 13, 2020

December 13, 2020

The 30th Annual West Hollywood Toy and Food Drive will be accepting monetary donations until Friday, Dec. 18th, 2020 with...

The Center Long Beach Brings Diversity To The Board

December 13, 2020

December 13, 2020

The Center Long Beach has announced the addition of three new members to the board of directors: Long Beach business...

PIQUE Health – Specialized Treatment Plans to Optimize Male Health

December 11, 2020

December 11, 2020

Beverly Hills-based practice helping men come up with a plan to fully optimize their health Now more than ever, amid...

Local LA Teen Named Member Of HRC Foundation Youth Ambassadors

December 10, 2020

December 10, 2020

The Human Rights Campaign have announced that Nico Craig, an 18-year-old DJ and music producer from Los Angeles, has been...