On May 7, a variety of individuals came together to discuss methamphetamine (Tina) and GHB (Gina). These two drugs are used separately and in combination, particularly by men who have sex with men.  The “Tina and Gina: Killing Us Softy” panel featured recovering users, and professionals in the field, including Trinka Porrenta (Project GHB), Kathy Watt (Van Ness Recovery House), and CBAM’s very own Medical Director, Dr. Keith Heinzerling.

Those in recovery spoke out first in the discussion, recounting the harrowing days of their heavy drug use. Jeffrey Drew, an activist in the recovery community, has been sober for almost 26 years. At the height of Jeffrey’s addiction, he was living on the streets and was eventually diagnosed with HIV in 1987, when little was known about the infection. Another member of the panel, Paulo Murillo, remembers taking GHB with a partner and passing out, waking up 8 hours later feeling disoriented and scared.

Trinka Porrenta, of Project GHB, helped attendees learn more about “Gina”, noting that its effects are dangerous, unpredictable and can cause a fatal overdose. Calling it “the invisible drug,” Project GHB stresses the importance of spreading awareness of GHB and its uses, since it is rarely discussed as more than a date-rape drug.

Dr. Heinzerling discussed what happens during a fatal methamphetamine overdose: “If enough meth is taken, it causes the blood pressure and the heart race to increase, which could cause a heart attack or stroke.”

To see the full video of the discussion, click here.


CBAM is a multidisciplinary center that seeks to advance the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses, especially in communities with health disparities. As part of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community with a focus on treating addictions and preventing the spread of HIV.

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