The New York City medical examiner’s office has determined that the death of West Hollywood’s Jovin Raethz on March 17 was caused by his use of cocaine, Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB) and alcohol.
Raethz’s death while visiting New York City sparked at outcry among his many friends in West Hollywood and among those concerned about the use of drugs such as GHB in the city’s large gay community. West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran is hosting a public forum on the use of GHB and methamphetamine on May 7 at West Hollywood Park Auditorium.
Raethz, 37, a fitness trainer, was found in the 19th Street apartment in Chelsea of Shaun Murphy, 34, who also was dead. Investigators found GHB in the apartment and a toxicology study was initiated to determine the actual cause of death. Today’s statement from the medical examiner’s office said it was “a result of acute intoxication due to the combined effects of Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid, cocaine and alcohol.
Many friends of Raethz who posted comments on WEHOville said that he was not a chronic drug user. However GHB is known to be lethal when a certain dosage level of it is combined with alcohol or other drugs. That level is nearly impossible to determine, however, given that the GHB used recreationally generally comes from illicit drug dealers.
Duran’s forum on GHB and methamphetamine, dubbed “Gina and Tina: Killing Us Softly,” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the auditorium, which is at 627 N. San Vicente Blvd. south of Santa Monica. It is open to the public.