Shambhala Music Festival is the model for smart and effective harm reduction. For over a decade, they’ve invited ANKORS (AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society) to come to the festival and provide pill and powder testing, along with other harm reduction services to all of their patrons.
Since Shambhala began providing these services from ANKORS, they have had just one single death, while medical transports have declined well into single-digits (this year only totaling 5). This is unheard of for a four-day festival of this size, numbering around 15,000 total attendees this year. So why can’t we have the same in America? The reality is that we are going to have a very long uphill battle to get these services available to us stateside thanks in large part to the RAVE Act, that you can learn all about over here.
We at Dance Music Northwest fully support the efforts made by organizations like ANKORS. We encourage all ravers out there to buy your own kit to help keep yourself and your friends safe, while possessing the tools to make informed decisions. To walk you through the process, we teamed up with ANKORS at Shambhala just this last month to create a special tutorial, detailing just how these testing kits work. Watch below to learn more about these groundbreaking services, and to see firsthand why this is the best and most proven method for keeping people safe.
Something that is very important to note about these testing kits: They will only test for the substance most prevalent in the sample, and do not give you any level of purity or quality. The best way to ensure you don’t put anything harmful in your body is of course to not take any drugs in the first place, period. But if you feel the need to imbibe, at the very least there’s an easy way to know the dominant substance you’ve been sold.
We have come to the conclusion that we can’t sit idly by while this essential service is being denied to us by archaic legislation that no longer pertains to the needs of today. We’re just as tired as you are seeing the same story over and over again concerning a tragic death at a festival.
To that end, we’ve been speaking with Seattle city council members and the office of Mayor Ed Murray to discuss the possibility of passing legislation that would provide amnesty to any organization providing these essential testing services. While we have support from some of the members, the biggest hurdle is showing that we all stand behind this seminal issue.
What we need you to do as a member of the community: Sign our petition, urging the Seattle City Council and the Office of the Mayor to pass this landmark legislation. In it, we outline the need to allow amnesty to any and all organizations providing pill and powder testing, as well as to anyone seeking these services. Our eventual goal is to have pill testing set up outside of festivals in the greater Seattle area, and it begins with you. Under the auspices of the RAVE Act, no insurance company will cover a festival that allows on-site drug testing. We want to change that.
Share this article with your friends, have them sign our petition, and make your voices heard. Together, we can do this. We just need your help to make our collective voices echo through the halls of city council, demanding we never hear of another fellow raver passing away again.
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