Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis as a Community with Harm Reduction

Harm Reduction has always been an important topic that we happily stand behind, whether it’s practicing safe sex, wearing ear protection, or testing your party favors. Partying smart allows you the opportunity to return to the dance floor another day. There is certainly no way around the fact that drugs are a part of the dance music scene. With the growing popularity of EDM, it has never been more appropriate to keep the subject of Harm Reduction on the table and up for discussion.

This year (2016) has been plagued with an alarming amount of overdoses that almost all have pointed back to adulterated party favors containing fentanyl. While some choose to push for prohibition with tighter laws and punishment for drug use and possession, others have chosen to inform and educate the public of the risks associated with drug use, along with how to prevent or reverse overdoses.

Already known for the rather progressive drug policy, especially with opioids, it’s no wonder Vancouver’s Fortune Sound Club saw an opportunity to educate the community. This past September, they hosted a Narcan training workshop geared towards the nightlife & hospitality community, event promoters, club managers, and anyone over the age of 19 with interest. The event brought in a registered nurse to teach how to administer not only first aid, but the Naloxone antidote for opioid overdoses. Back in April, British Columbia officials declared a state of emergencies after over 200 overdoses in only 2 months.

Photo: Cliff Shim/CBC harm reduction narcan vancouver

Photo: Cliff Shim/CBC

The event saw nearly 100 attendees ranging from DJs, promoters, and club goers. With the increasing number of overdoses, not only in B.C. but across much of North America, public overdose education has never been more important. Despite fentanyl typically being cut into drugs like heroin, it’s slowly been making it’s way into cocaine, MDMA, and even LSD. More alarming is the fact that at home drug testing kits do not detect the presences of fentanyl.

“We want to make sure everyone is safe and we want to know what to do in case of an emergency because you know that’s on your conscience. You’re liable if something happens at one of your events,” – Chavi Alvarez in an interview with CBC

We strongly urge other event promoters, clubs, and communities to consider hosting their own Narcan training workshop. Time will show that the best way to prevent drug related deaths is treating them with education rather than suppression. We, as a community, need to stop ignoring the fact that drugs are a part of this community as much as they were in the “Sex, Drugs, and Rock-n-Roll” era. We are no longer just partying in abandoned warehouses or down a dirt road in the woods. The dance music scene is now under public eye, and it’s up to us to make way for proper treatment and education for drug overdoses.