As this summer's festival season approaches, there are two more things you need to be sure are on your prep list (in addition to vitals like picking out feather headdresses and investigating solar shower options for camping).
You should be studying up on drugs. And you should donate to DanceSafe.
Even if you don’t plan to use any drugs yourself, if you’re going to attend a festival, it’s very likely that one or more of your friends will. And if not them, then a friend of a friend. Or someone new you’ll meet that day that thinks the same track that you do is worth five minutes of vigorous dancing and a sweaty high five (or fist pump, whatever you prefer).
The point is, despite zero tolerance policies, door searches, security guards, drug dogs, uniformed and undercover police and actual arrests being made, the drugs will be there. Partygoers, promoters, conglomerate music corporations and cops – we all know this. And yet despite that, do you know what very likely won’t be there? Any information at all about how to reduce the harm of drug use and keep yourself and your friends safe.
Every person who chooses to use drugs (legal ones too) or be around people who do should understand what they’re doing and how to stay safe. But it’s a pretty heavy lift to try to learn not just about the “classics” commonly used – MDMA, mushrooms, LSD, cocaine, etc. – but also all the newer stuff: cathinones like methylone and mephedrone, all the 2Cs, any number of the other “alphabetamines” (chemicals too obscure to be branded with any name other than their letter and number symbol just yet). All of which may also be in that baggie or jar of white powder you or someone around you plans to take.
That’s where DanceSafe comes in.
DanceSafe is a nonprofit dedicated to serving the electronic dance music scene and providing honest, fact-based drug information as well as a bunch of other useful stuff like free water, earplugs, condoms & lube, and a safe space to chill out if you need to. Their volunteers are trained to be on point when it comes to your trickier drug use questions. Or they will just spray you down with sunscreen (also a free service they provide).
DanceSafe and their services aren’t at nearly the number of festivals they need to be (see if DanceSafe is going to hit up a festival near you). But right now you can help get them there by donating to their IndieGoGo campaign. They set a crazy ambitious goal, but every single dollar donated gets turned into one more drug fact card or five more packages of earplugs – even the smallest contributions are vital to ensure they can do the work they do all summer.
Isn't it nice to know that someone else out there is looking out for you and your friends too?
You’ll see my name on that list of donors. I hope I see yours too.
Stefanie Jones is the event manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.