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11.10.21

APLA Health Announces $250K Gift From The Murray/Reese Foundation to Expand Methamphetamine Harm Reduction Services Across Los Angeles County

APLA Health announces $250,000 gift from The Murray/Reese Foundation to augment and expand APLA Health’s existing “Party Wise” harm reduction services for active methamphetamine (meth)-using men who have sex with men (MSM) in Los Angeles County.

Meth use has skyrocketed in Los Angeles County, with the crisis only worsening during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent Substance and Abuse Prevention and Control report from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, meth overdose deaths increased 77% from March to December 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019.

Meth is now the leading cause of accidental drug overdose deaths in Los Angeles, and the LGBTQ+ community continues to be disproportionately impacted by the crisis due to the significantly increased risk HIV transmission associated with use of the drug.

“Too many promising gay men’s lives are being destroyed by meth. We hope that this additional support of the Party Wise program at APLA Health will put many of those lives back on track. APLA Health has the experience, competence, and compassion to design and effectuate this program to have a profound impact on the Los Angeles community,” explain Jonathan Murray and Harvey Reese.

Since 2006, APLA Health’s Party Wise has provided a harm reduction approach (meeting clients at the stage and mindset they are at) using a proven, group-level intervention model for clients who express a desire to stop using the drug.

With the support of The Murray/Reese Foundation, Party Wise will expand program access and service offerings through a dynamic, multipronged approach to address the increase in use, HIV infections, and overdoses. This includes a comprehensive digital advertising and awareness campaign via online dating apps that are used by gay men. Studies have found many begin as “event-driven” crystal meth users and that men explore use as a part of their sexual hook-up experiences. With a non-judgmental approach, this effort is designed to encourage participants to explore the impact meth use has on their life and let them know there is support and resources available to them at APLA Health and other organizations. Also, in an effort to build community awareness and support, Party Wise will facilitate quarterly community town halls to raise awareness about the impact of meth on the community and resources available.

“We are beyond thrilled for this generous funding from The Murray/Reese Foundation. Their support will enable us to significantly expand our efforts to provide much-needed services to address this rapidly growing problem,” said Craig E. Thompson, CEO of APLA Health.

More information about APLA Health’s Party Wise program can be found here: https://aplahealth.org/services/party-wise/

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ABOUT THE MURRAY/REESE FOUNDATION: The Murray/Reese Foundation is a family foundation that supports minority and under-represented communities through non-profit organizations that advance the human condition through better representation of minority and under-represented voices in all forms of media, improved access to healthcare, and educational funding. Organizations that have received recent funding from The Murray/Reese Foundation include: the Los Angeles LGBT Center, APLA Health, Project Angel Food, GLAAD, The Trevor Project, Family Equality, RespectAbility, and the Television Academy Foundation.

ABOUT APLA HEALTH: APLA Health’s mission is to achieve healthcare equity and promote well-being for the LGBTQ+ and other underserved communities and people living with and affected by HIV. We remain committed to ending the AIDS epidemic in our lifetime. We are a nonprofit, federally qualified health center serving more than 18,000 people annually. We provide 20 different services at 16 locations throughout Los Angeles County, including: medical, dental, behavioral health and HIV specialty care; PrEP counseling and management; health education and HIV prevention; and STD screening and treatment. For people living with HIV, we offer housing support; benefits counseling; home healthcare; and the Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; among several other critically needed services. Additionally, we are leaders in advocating for policy and legislation that positively impacts the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities and conduct community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. Its signature fundraising event, AIDS Walk Los Angeles, has drawn hundreds of thousands of supporters to walk, and millions more to donate, raising more than $91 million to combat HIV and AIDS since 1985. For more information on APLA Health visit https://aplahealth.org.