Councilwoman Traci Park Urges Action Following Skid Row Deaths


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Reacting to the suspected overdose deaths of three people found inside a Skid Row apartment building, City Councilwoman Traci Park Thursday urged further action against street drugs.

The three bodies were found Wednesday afternoon inside a building in the 600 block of Wall Street, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department, which described the fatalities as suspected overdoses.

"These three deaths reinforce the urgency to our city that we are amidst an addiction crisis that is ruining families and ending lives," Park said in a statement Thursday.

While the exact details surrounding the deaths have yet to be disclosed pending confirmation from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner- Coroner, the fatalities raised concerns about "tranq," which Los Angeles Police Department officials described as a potent and deadly combination of fentanyl and xylazine, coming into the Southland.

Park introduced a motion in March advocating for more communication and information being shared among first responders, the county's Department of Public Health and city personnel who come into regular contact with the substances. In addition, her motion asks for a report from the city's Personnel Department to report on efforts to prioritize worker safety.

In the county, there has been a 1,280% increase in fentanyl-linked deaths between 2016 and 2021, officials said. "Tranq" is more potent than fentanyl, is unresponsive to the overdose-reversal drug Narcan and in severe cases it can lead to amputation, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Park said in a statement she hopes her motion will help the city better understand the need for response procedures and better align the efforts of first responders, local health authorities and communities throughout the city.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the building where the three bodies were found Wednesday, known as 649 Lofts, is owned by the Skid Row Housing Trust, a nonprofit housing provider.

The city filed a petition last Thursday seeking the establishment of a public health and safety receivership for the trust after it announced it was unable to continue operating its 29 buildings.

A tenant at 649 Lofts with arthritis and nerve damage told The Times last month that she was trapped for more than two weeks on the fifth floor after the elevator broke down, and that intruders were common.

In Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, Steven Son, a deputy city attorney, described the situation as a "humanitarian emergency," adding that conditions have deteriorated in the buildings so much that there are "truly life safety issues," according to The Times.

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