Westchester drugstore to promote medication bill

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein came to Westchester to promote her efforts to remove certain medications from drugstore shelves.

Feinstein was joined by elected officials and top Longs Drugs executives led by Longs CEO Warren Bryant at the Westchester Village Longs store on Sepulveda Boulevard.

Longs will voluntarily place certain over-the-counter medications containing pseudoephedrine — the key ingredient in the illegal drug methamphetamine — behind the pharmacy counter in all of its 472 stores.

Feinstein has introduced what she calls the Combat Meth Act, a bill that would provide new resources and tools to combat the production and distribution of methamphetamine.

The bill would provide $15 million to train state and local law enforcement to investigate and lock up methamphetamine offenders; $5 million to hire additional federal prosecutors; and changes to the Controlled Substances Act that would limit and record the sale of medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

The bill would limit the amount of such medications one person could buy to nine grams per month, the equivalent of 300 30-milligram pills.

“That’s more than anyone would ever need if they were using these medications for the purpose intended,” Feinstein told onlookers and television cameras. “Meth is cheap, accessible and potent.

“It is a horribly destructive drug, yet making meth has been as simple as a trip to the local store.”

Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn said California and Los Angeles in particular have been ravaged by methamphetamine.

“Fully 15 percent of the arrestees in the City of Los Angeles test positive for methamphetamine,” Hahn said. “Taking away profits from drug dealers who deal in meth will help reduce crime.”

Longs is the first national chain to support Feinstein’s legislation and joins a host of other chains in agreeing to place behind the pharmacy counter medications containing pseudoephedrine, such as Sudafed, Benadryl and a variety of other cold and flu medications.

“Hearing Senator Feinstein describe the dramatic scope of this problem in California and nationally convinced me that Longs should not wait for a federal law directing us to move these products behind the counter,” said Bryant, Longs chairman and president as well as CEO.

WESTPORT HEIGHTS MURAL — Thanks to funding from Playa Vista, money raised by The Westport Heights Booster Club and lots of elbow grease from school parents and students, Westport Heights Elementary School now has a beautiful new mural that encourages students to read.

Muralist Frank Segura created a whimsical and colorful mural featuring a wide array of characters, including spiders reading books in the safety of their webs, a father bear reading to a group of woodland creatures and even a huge blue dragon curled up in front of a castle with a good book.

The $5,000 mural was funded by a grant from the Playa Vista Educational Trust and funds raised by the school’s boosters.

Knowing that doing the prep work themselves would help reduce the costs, school volunteers, including an eager band of students, handled all of the priming for the walls.

Volunteers invested hundreds of hours and then turned the job over to Segura, who spent several months creating his original design.

GARDEN TOUR — Spring has sprung and that means it’s time for the annual Westchester Mental Health Guild’s Garden Tour.

This year’s tour, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, May 15th, will feature seven spectacular Westchester and Playa del Rey gardens in full bloom.

Tickets are $20 and are available at The Guilded Cage, 8917-B Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester, or at Airport Marina Counseling Service, 7891 La Tijera Blvd., Westchester.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the counseling service. Information, (310) 641-7850.

FATHER DAUGHTER PROM

— For the 11th consecutive year, the Westchester Junior Women’s Club will present their Father Daughter Prom between 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, May 14th, in the St. Bernard High School gymnasium, 9100 Falmouth Ave., Playa del Rey.

This is an opportunity for fathers and other adult male escorts to join their special pre-school to pre-teen girls at a prom before the girls grow up and head off to the real thing.

Entrance for the girls is free, but there is a $15 advance ticket charge for adults — $25 at the door if there are any tickets left.

Tickets may be purchased through local school offices and the Westchester Family YMCA.

The event will include dancing, entertainment and the opportunity for photographs of each couple for an additional charge of $10.

Proceeds will benefit local schools and other charities.

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