I Am a Music Fan

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We love to go out to music festivals or clubs. We listen, we dance, we connect with friends. And regardless of whether we use alcohol or other drugs, we know they’re a part of our scene.
 
We also know that zero tolerance policies don’t stop people from using drugs. We want practical changes so we can still go out and have fun while keeping people as safe as possible. 
 

Drug Education at Festivals

The TomorrowWorld festival in Atlanta did something extraordinarily smart and innovative by giving festivalgoers access to safety information on everything from drug use to hearing protection. The promoters, ID & T, invited DanceSafe, which brought 18 workers to the festival to distribute information.
 
This was an important first step toward addressing the issue of drug use at festivals head on.  And more than that, it was a model for prioritizing the health and safety of festivalgoers – even in the context of a “zero tolerance” drug policy environment.

Other Countries Leading the Way on Health and Safety

In the U.S., we are just beginning to embrace the idea that health and safety should be the top priorities, but other countries are farther along. New Zealand recently passed a law to make it safer to take drugs. The government there realized that people were using these substances whether they were legal or not, and that they would be less risky if producers were held accountable for safety and labeling.
 
The new law also keeps people out of the criminal justice system by removing the possibility of arrest for possessing or using these drugs.  Because New Zealand’s government has recognized that locking people up for putting a substance in their body is a waste of time and money, New Zealanders will be able to use these drugs at clubs and festivals without fear of being stopped by police. 
 
New Zealand isn’t the only place innovating around nightlife drug policies. Europe has a network of harm reduction organizations, nightlife professionals and local and regional authorities that have come together for the Nightlife Empowerment & Well-Being Implementation Project (NEWIP). This group promotes health and harm reduction in recreational settings, including by testing substances on-site at events and sharing information with each other. We’re still far from that level of sophistication in the U.S., but NEWIP provides a model for putting health and safety first.

Resources for Nightlife Fans in the U.S.

  • DanceSafe, the oldest volunteer-run festival and rave harm reduction organization, provides accurate drug information and testing kits, and shows you how to start a chapter in your area.
  • Get testing kits for cocaine, ketamine, LSD, MDMA/ecstasy, mescaline from Bunk Police.
  • Are you in charge of promoting or running nightlife in your area?  Membership in the Sociable City network will give you access to planning and management best practices.
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