Backwoods Brings in DanceSafe
Backwoods’ Responsibility to Attendees
Backwoods is bringing in DanceSafe for festival attendees this year in an attempt to add additional safety and knowledgable team members to its volunteer and medical staff and mitigate risk. While Backwoods does not take a stance for or against drug use, Backwoods does not promote drug use, or allow it to be brought into the venue. It is inevitable that some attendees will choose to take illicit substances despite efforts to prevent it at any concert, festival, or event. Since this can not be ignored, Backwoods wants to ensure the health and safety of its attendees first and foremost. Enter the role of DanceSafe. The group will be working closely with security and EMS teams at Backwoods to educate, promote safety, and assist those who may be experiencing the unwanted effects of a substance.
DanceSafe is a 501(c)(3) public health organization promoting health and safety within the nightlife and electronic music community. Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998 by Emanuel Sferios, DanceSafe quickly grew into a national organization with chapters in cities across North America.
DanceSafe has two fundamental operating principles: harm reduction and peerbased, popular education. Combining these two principles has enabled us to create successful, peerbased educational programs to reduce drug misuse and empower young people to make healthy, informed lifestyle choices. We are known for bringing adulterant screening (a.k.a., “pill testing,” “drug checking”) to the rave and nightlife community in the U.S., and for distributing unbiased educational literature describing the effects and risks associated with the use of various drugs.
DanceSafe also started the only publicly accessible laboratory analysis program for ecstasy in North America, currently hosted and managed by Erowid at EcstasyData.org. DanceSafe neither condones nor condemns drug use. Rather, they provide a nonjudgmental perspective to help support people who use drugs in making informed decisions about their health and safety.
DanceSafe Initiatives and Services
- Provide safe spaces to engage in conversations about health, drug use, and personal safety;
- Provide free water and electrolytes to prevent dehydration and heatstroke;
- Provide free safe sex tools to avoid unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STIs;
- Provide free ear plugs to prevent hearing loss;
- Provide honest, factbased, unbiased information on drug effects and potential harms to empower users to make informed decisions;
- Offer a nonjudgmental firstpoint of contact to risky or challenging situations;
- Offer drug checking services to prevent overdose and death; and
- Work with promoters and local stakeholders to advocate for safety first approaches.
Note: Information and services are directed primarily towards nonaddicted, recreational drug users. Nonaddicted drug users are an underserved population within the harm reduction movement, despite the fact that they comprise the vast majority of drug users in our society.
While many organizations exist that provide services to drug-dependent individuals, few groups address the needs of the majority of nonaddicted, recreational users. DanceSafe hopes to fill this gap.
When needed, DanceSafe will always refer people to appropriate treatment programs.
DanceSafe currently has local chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada. Their local chapters consist of young people from within the dance culture who have a sincere interest in ensuring the health and safety of their communities and educating themselves and their peers. They train their volunteers to be health educators and drug abuse prevention counselors within their own communities, utilizing the principles and methods of harm reduction and popular education.