West Hollywood will host a forum tomorrow night on the use of crystal meth and GHB, two potentially life-threatening drugs used both separately and in combination that continue to have a huge impact in the community, particularly in regard to gay men who live, visit and play in WeHo.
“Tina and Gina: Killing Us Softly — A Community Discussion on Sex, Meth, and GHB” will feature a panel of experts, former drug users and others. Its goal is to raise public awareness, provide education and offer resources regarding crystal meth and/or GHB abuse.
The panel will feature activist Jeffrey Drew; Dr. Keith Heinzerling (UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine); Dr. Mark Honzel (MRH Medical Group & KLEAN Treatment Centers); Greg Howell (founder of G-Lixir and a television/special events producer); Paulo Murillo (writer and journalist; Trinka Porrata (Project GHB), and Kathy Watt (Van Ness Recovery House). The event will be moderated by West Hollywood Councilmember, John J. Duran.
GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid) is prescribed under the name Xyrem to treat sleep disorders and catalepsy. But it’s also notorious for its illegal use and the fact that it can have fatal consequences when used with alcohol or other drugs. At lower doses it has an effect similar to alcohol, making the user feel relaxed and sociable. But higher doses can cause vomiting, muscle spasms and loss of consciousness. When ingested with alcohol, it can slow down one’s breathing rate and quickly result in death. Jovin Raethz, a popular trainer in West Hollywood, died during a visit to New York City in March from what was later determined to be a combination of GHB, cocaine and alcohol.
Methamphetamine hydrochloride (crystal meth) is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration under the trade name Desoxyn to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity. However, it is used recreationally to increase sexual desire, lift the mood and increase energy. For some users the result is sexual activity continuously for several days straight. It is highly addictive and it can cause psychosis and brain damage.
The event will take place on Wednesday from 7. to 9 p.m., at the West Hollywood Park Auditorium, 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard south of Santa Monica Boulevard. Admission is free. It also will be broadcast on WehoTV, which provides access to city government on Time Warner Cable channel 10 or digital channel 95-203 within the City of West Hollywood. WehoTV is also available online at www.weho.org/wehotv.