Arrests in West Hollywood for possession or sale of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and GHB increased in the last half of 2013 compared with the same period the year prior, according to a report by the city’s Public Safety Department and the West Hollywood station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.Methamphetamine, also known as “tina” or “crystal,” accounted for the largest number of arrests, with 115 for possession of the drug and six for possession with intent to sell. That represents a 13 percent increase in meth possession arrests over the same period the year before. The number of arrests for possession with intent to sell remained constant.
Meth use and addiction is a major issue among gay men, who make up 40 percent of West Hollywood’s population. The drug is highly addictive and clouds the judgment of users, sometimes leading them to indulge in unprotected sex and put themselves at risk for infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Marijuana arrests, which ranked second with a total of 33, declined significantly from the last half of 2012.
According to figures from the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Narcotics Bureau, 30 people were arrested for possession of marijuana in the last half of 2013, down 27 percent from the year before. There were three arrests for possession of marijuana with intent to sell, down from seven in the last half of 2012.
Arrests for possession of cocaine, heroin and GHB showed the highest percentage increase (29 percent), although with a total of 36 arrests the number was comparatively low compared to arrests for other drugs. Arrests for intent to sell those drugs went up from three in the last half of 2012 to eight in the last half of 2013. GHB is a recreational drug that also has been described as a “date rape” drug for its use by rapists to render victims unconscious.
The Narcotics Bureau reported that a majority of those arrested for illegal drug possession went outside the city to buy those drugs. Nine out of 17 arrests for possession with intent to sell were of people who did not live in West Hollywood.