At a regular West Hollywood City council meeting on Monday, November 20, 2023, council member Chelsea Byers presented Darwin Rodriguez, Program Manager at the Institute for Public Strategies, and members of the safer West Hollywood coalition with a proclamation recognizing November 30 as National Methamphetamine Awareness Day.
In 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed November 30 as national methamphetamine Awareness Day. The date the designated day is a coordinated effort to reach potential users with a message of prevention and to educate current users on the facts about meth addiction, including available treatment options. Methamphetamine is an addictive synthetic stimulant that can cause considerable health effects and can sometimes result in death.
According to the US office on National Drug Control Policy, methamphetamine involved overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2015 and 2019 and 2020. Over 2.5 million people in the United States aged 12 or older reported methamphetamine use that year. In 2021, the number the total number of people in Los Angeles County who died due to accidental drug overdose was 2741 people. Methamphetamine or fentanyl and or fentanyl were involved in approximately half of the total accidental overdose cases in LA County.
The City of West Hollywood contracts with several agencies to provide programming and services for people with substance use disorders including methamphetamine. Over the last decade, the city has hosted community forums to raise community awareness on methamphetamine as an epidemic.
In 2019, the safer West Hollywood coalition was created and is comprised of multiple agencies and community members that provide essential services to the community, including the Institute for Public Strategies, Being Alive Los Angeles, Put Here Sexual Health, The Wall, Las Memorias Project, the LA LGBT Center, Just Don’t Iie, Friends Community Center, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and other important community members.
The Safer WeHo coalition provides invaluable advocacy and awareness in the areas of substance use prevention, harm reduction and treatment.
“The city is grateful to be a part of the safer WeHo coalition and is proud of the collective work being done to ensure that individuals have access to life saving resources, especially during times of increased risk,” said council member Byers. “Now therefore be it resolved The City Council of West Hollywood hereby recognizes the Safer WeHo Coalition for their invaluable efforts to provide life saving resources and raise awareness on the harms of methamphetamine use and addiction. The city hereby declares November 30 2023 as methamphetamine Awareness Day in the City of West Hollywood.”
Darwin Rodriguez spoke about Meth Awareness Day not being widely popular, but that it prompts a crucial conversation about substance use, particularly within the LGBTQ community. He spoke about how the impact of homophobia increases overdose rates and hindering life-saving efforts for LGBTQ individuals.
According to Rodrigue, statistics reveal a higher substance use rate among LGBTQ individuals, often linked to adverse childhood events or trauma and how te recent surge in homophobia and transphobia raises concerns about the escalation of such events, including abuse and homelessness.
“Coalition’s like the Safer WeHo Coalition are instrumental for spreading awareness, getting resources into people’s hands and bridging various sectors in the community,” he said from the podium. “This work is needed now more than ever. Diversifying LGBTQ spaces all over the country is one of the many important solutions right now. We need more LGBTQ spaces that are alcohol and substance use free like coffee shops, bookstores and community centers. These preventative measures are cornerstones for inclusive community building, alongside very important strategies like harm reduction and treatment. We hope this Methamphetamine Awareness Day, you can help prevent substance use in your community or help prevent an overdose.”
To learn about Methamphetamine Awareness Day, visit: