Harm, Risks,
and Accidental Overdose

If you are using meth, it is important to take steps to keep yourself as healthy and safe as possible.

Harm, Risks,
and Accidental Overdose

If you are using meth, it is important to take steps to keep yourself as healthy and safe as possible.

Accidental Overdose

From 2018-2019, more people died from meth overdoses than any other drug in LA County. And, meth is increasingly being found laced with fentanyl, a highly lethal opioid that significantly increases overdose risk. Knowing symptoms of overdose can save your life or your friend’s life. Scroll to learn what you need to know.

Anyone using meth, even someone using it the first time, can be at risk for overdose. It’s possible to overdose because of small amounts of meth or if you have meth built up in your body.

At first, a meth overdose can look like someone high on meth. However, there are small differences like the high is too intense or rapid and irregular heartbeat. Other signs are:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Signs of a heart attack or stroke, like chest pain or confusion
  • Seizures
  • High or low blood pressure
  • A high body temperature (hyperthermia)
  • Kidney failure, which might cause symptoms such as peeing less or very dark urine
  • Intense stomach pain
  • Changes in personality or alertness
  • Loss of consciousnes
  • Intensely hyper or aggressive behavior
  • Paranoia

The Good Samaritan Law helps protect you from drug charges when you call for help.

In-Person Harm Reduction Supplies and Overdose Prevention
(e.g., naloxone distribution, needle exchange, fentanyl testing strips)

NAME: Bienestar Human Services
PHONE: (866) 590-6411
LOCATION: 5326 E. Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90022

NAME: Homeless Health Care Los Angeles
PHONE: (213) 617-8408
LOCATION: 512 East 4th Street Los Angeles, CA 90013

NAME: Tarzana Treatment Center
PHONE: (818) 342-5897
LOCATION: 6800 Block of Eton St. Canoga Park, CA 91303
LOCATION: 12178 San Fernando Rd. Sylmar, CA 91342

NAME: Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Inc.
PHONE: (424) 331-5799
LOCATION: BAART Lynwood Clinic 11682 Atlantic Ave. Lynwood, CA 90262
LOCATION: 652 E. Manchester Blvd. Inglewood, CA 90301
LOCATION: Lawndale Mental and Health Services 4023 Marine Ave. Lawndale, CA 90260

NAME: LA Community Health Project
PHONE: (213) 483-536
LOCATION: Mt. Olive Church 9401 Zamora Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90002
LOCATION: Spectrum Clinic 1748 E. 120th Street. Watts, CA 90059

NAME: Venice Family Clinic
PHONE: (310) 314-5480
LOCATION: 622 Rose Ave. Venice, CA 90291

NAME: The Shower of Hope
LINK: http://theshowerofhope.org/

LAODPrevention.org – OD Prevention Videos

California Department of Public Health – Naloxone Training Video

National Harm Reduction Coalition




National Association of School Nurses – Naloxone in Schools Toolkit

www.APLA.org -- AIDS Project Los Angeles Fentanyl Strip Distribution

Theo Krzywicki (theo@endoverdose.net)
Katie Krzywicki (katie@endoverdose.net)

If You’re Not Ready to Quit, Follow These Safety Tips

  • Set limits about how much and for how long you will use.

  • Use your own pipe to determine the amount before using.

  • Have a buddy system. Use around people you trust so you can keep each other safe.

  • Use clean needles if injecting. You can get clean needles at most retail pharmacies or any of the LA County Certified Engagement and Overdose Prevention Hubs. These hubs offer overdose prevention education, syringe exchange, naloxone (overdose reversal medication) and how to use it properly to save a life, fentanyl test strips, outreach and referral services, and education and assistance with HIV, hepatitis, and other communicable diseases.

  • Meth laced with fentanyl is becoming increasingly common. Prevent fatal fentanyl and opioid overdoses by carrying naloxone and testing your drugs with fentanyl test strips beforehand.

  • Don't hesitate to call 911, if needed.

  • Be safe-sex ready (condoms and water-based lube).

  • Do not drive. Meth affects your ability to drive safely.
Click here to download the safety tips

Sexual Risks and Consequences

Meth can increase the chance of high-risk sexual behaviors such as:

Meth can make people do things they wouldn’t usually do. With fewer inhibitions, people may:

  • Engage in high-risk sexual behaviors
  • Be less likely to use condoms
  • Have sexual encounters with anonymous, casual, and multiple partners

This increases the chances of exposure to HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancy, and pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight and neurodevelopmental problems.

Meth can lead to sex lasting too long, and that can lead to condom breaks and tears and bleeding of the genitals, anus, or mouth. All of which can increase the likelihood of transmission of HIV, hepatitis C, and other STIs.

Meth affects your memory, so people who use daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication may forget to take it, which can make a person vulnerable to acquiring HIV if they are not using condoms.

Meth use may also cause a person to forget to take their daily HIV medication. That can increase their chance of going from HIV undetectable to detectable as well as possibly passing HIV onto their partners.

People who inject meth with needles, syringes, and other drug injection equipment or "works" (including cookers and cotton) that have been shared with others have increased risk of both HIV and hepatitis infection.

How can someone lower their risks?

If you plan on using methamphetamine, follow these tips
to reduce the risks for you and your partner(s).

For males, use latex, polyisoprene, or polyurethane condoms and water-based lube. It is recommended to put on a new condom after 30 minutes of use, as they can break after 30 minutes.

For females, use a female condom for protection from HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis, and unplanned pregnancy. Don’t hesitate to carry your own condoms. Insist that your partner wear a condom.

If you are a commercial sex worker or having sex with multiple partners, anonymous partners, or partners whose HIV/STI status you are unsure about, get tested every 3–6 months for HIV and STIs. Free HIV/STI testing is available in LA County. HIV testing and treatment can make the virus undetectable in your body, so you won’t pass it to others through sex, although condom use is always recommended. Click here to find a free testing location near you.

If you are using meth in combination with sex, you may be at increased risk of HIV. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) can greatly reduce the risk of acquiring HIV for all genders who use methamphetamine. For more information about PrEP, please visit getprepla.com.

If you think you may have recently been exposed to HIV, PEP may be an option for you. PEP is an emergency medication that can stop HIV. PEP must be started within 72 hours for it to be effective.

  • To get PEP during business hours, visit one of the LA County PEP Centers http://getprepla.com/pep/get-pep-now.

  • To get PEP after business hours, go to the emergency rooms at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center or St. Mary's Medical Center.

  • PEP is provided judgement-free at all locations.

If you’re taking PrEP to prevent HIV or if you need to take HIV medication because you are living with HIV, use an alarm to ensure you are taking your pills at the right time.


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