When it comes to Harm Reduction, Amsterdam is leading the way. They have required all festivals to provide free water, there are services to make sure that you have safe drugs, and now the authorities are allowing an individual to possess five or fewer pills of ecstasy. When the rest of the world was expecting authorities to come down with even stricter measures, they have decided to take a more tolerant approach in the hopes that people will be more willing to seek medical services.
There is an organization called Jellinek that offers the same services that ANKORS offers at the Shambhala Music and Arts festival in Canada. Their offices will be open for longer hours through this year’s ADE festival and will have satellite stations through out the city.
Surprisingly this comes in the wake of a series of deaths that occurred at last year’s ADE festival. Four deaths were reported over the weekend last year, although only one death (an unnamed 41-year-old Dutch woman) was said to be the result of ecstasy use. Obviously this is not welcomed by everyone in Amsterdam, as some of the more conservative members have expressed their disagreement with the approach.
We are not sure how effective this approach to common sense harm reduction will be. Our hope is that the event is an overall success and everyone gets to go home safe. It is important to note that this is a festival of 300,000 people over a period of five days. If this does prove to be successful, it will help prove that efforts made by Shambhala can be effective in much more massive festivals. What do you think the chances are that this will be a success? We will follow up with an aftermath article when the dust settles, but as of right now, we have not heard any deaths reported by the local media.
UPDATE: Thump offers us further clarification, noting that the 5-pill allowance only spanned the duration of the ADE event (October 14-18).
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