The City of West Hollywood continues its efforts on bring fentanyl awareness to the community. The City joined local service providers APLA Health and the Los Angeles LGBT Center in support of the distribution of fentanyl test strips and it is getting the word out about the the life-saving importance of these test strips.
Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that has been found in substances such as methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy, and other drugs. It is especially dangerous because people are often unaware that fentanyl is in drugs they are using. The high potency of fentanyl (as high as 50 to 100 times the potency of morphine) greatly increases risk of overdose.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the National Institutes of Health, unintentional drug overdose deaths have climbed to record-high levels, claiming approximately 70,000 lives in the United States in 2017. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that 28,400 of these deaths were attributed to fentanyl.
Fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. Because fentanyl is so strong, overdoses may occur quickly, sometimes while someone is actively using drugs. Having fentanyl test strips on-hand and learning how to use them can assist a drug user in deciding whether or not to use.
Fentanyl test strips have proven to be effective in detecting fentanyl in the presence of drugs and they reduce the likelihood of overdose. Increased awareness, distribution, and use of fentanyl test strips can save lives.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center provides free or low-cost, comprehensive, and judgment-free addiction recovery services and has a service to provide free fentanyl testing strips to those who request them. For additional information, please contact the Center’s Addiction Recovery Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (323) 993-7448, or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org/health-services/addiction-recovery-services.
APLA Health offers treatment that can help reduce or eliminate unhelpful and unhealthy behaviors that sustain addiction and substance use. APLA Health operates multiple locations throughout Los Angeles County. The closest location for West Hollywood community members to get fentanyl test strips is APLA Health – Olympic, which is located at 5901 W. Olympic Boulevard, Suite 310, in Los Angeles. For additional information, please call (323) 215-1725.
APLA Health provides fentanyl information on its website including facts about fentanyl, tips for reducing overdose risk, signs of an overdose, available treatment options, and a fentanyl test strip guide: www.aplahealth.org/fentanyl.
For more information The City’s fentanyl awareness efforts, contact the City of West Hollywood’s Social Services Division at (323) 848-6510.