Visitors to this week’s Halloween Carnaval not only will be able to have fun, they also will have access to tools to help keep them alive.
The Safe West Hollywood Community Coalition will be distributing Halloween treats and also:
- Fentanyl test strips (Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid prescribed for severe pain. Since emerging on the illicit market in 2013, thousands of people have died of overdoses from fentanyl-laced drugs).
- Narcan (a medication that can reverse opioid overdose).
- Toiletries, and
- Information on substance abuse recovery services
Those items will be available at a station in the parking lot of the My 12 Step Store, 8730 Santa Monica Blvd. “My 12 Step Store specializes in recovery gifts, books and meeting chips for all addictions,” said store owner R.J, Holguin. “I believe we’re a perfect match to partner with these great organizations and offer harm reduction.”
Along with My 12 Step Store, other partners include the West Hollywood’s Social Services Division, APLA Health, and Being Alive.
The SWHCC is developing a “Meth Report Card” that will quantify key metrics like meth overdoses and mortality rates in West Hollywood. The Meth Report Card will be released right before a Meth Town Hall scheduled for February next year.
SWHCC is partnering with the City of West Hollywood to host the Meth Town Hall, where community leaders and activists, elected officials, nonprofit representatives, and concerned citizens can come together and discuss ways to combat meth use in West Hollywood.
“Most community members I’ve talked to know someone whose life has been destroyed by meth, and we continue to see it as in issue in community surveys,” said Alexis Sanchez, prevention coordinator for the West Hollywood Project. “With fentanyl starting to make its way into drugs other than opioids, we’ve seen a rise in fatal overdoses as people who don’t normally use opioids are suddenly confronted with overdoses. The Safe WeHo Community Coalition wants to make the skills and tools to reverse an overdose readily available; no one should have to die of an overdose.”
The SWHCC, a branch of the West Hollywood Project, ia a group of residents, substance use prevention professionals and treatment providers. The community coalition launched earlier this year to advocate for policies and resources geared toward reducing drug and alcohol problems in West Hollywood. One of the group’s main focuses is methamphetamines (meth). The West Hollywood Project, an initiative funded by the L.A. County Department of Public Health to reduce drug and alcohol problems in West Hollywood, surveyed hundreds of people over the last several years at their large-scale, alcohol- and drug- free community events #Boom and #Sizzle to gauge opinions about substance abuse in the city.
The results show more than 67% of people surveyed at #Sizzle (part of the LA Pride Festival) and more than 50% of people who attended #Boom (a New Year’s Eve event) between 2014 and 2019 believe meth misuse is prevalent in West Hollywood. A majority of #Boom attendees believed open meth use in bars, clubs, and community events is the substance abuse harming West Hollywood the most.
The Meth Town Hall is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2020, from 5 to 10 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.