TomorrowWorld has partnered with DanceSafe to provide festivalgoers with information about the risks of drug use and offer tips on how to use drugs more safely. The electronic music festival, which takes place this weekend outside of Atlanta, GA, made the decision following the “Molly”-related overdose deaths of two fans at New York City’s Electric Zoo Festival.
DanceSafe is a non-profit organization that provides drug education and harm reduction information to music fans in order to help them make responsible decisions about drug use. The group will have 20 volunteers at TomorrowWorld distributing fliers and staffing an air-conditioned “cool down” lounge.
The recent spike in drug-related deaths at shows and festivals has had many people clamoring about the increasing popularity of “Molly,” or pure MDMA powder. However, many substances that are sold as “Molly” are not actually pure MDMA, which can lead to serious health problems for people who expect one thing but get another. In addition, many festivalgoers are not educated in how to take drugs like MDMA in the most responsible manner possible.
While TomorrowWorld’s organizers say they will have a strict no-drug policy, they are also willing to admit that it will be impossible for them to keep their event completely drug free. Rather than pretend that nothing is happening, the festival has decided to take a pro-active approach to reduce the potential for preventable drug related emergencies.
While the harm reduction approach to drug use is controversial in the United States, these kinds of drug education programs have been in place in European countries for many years, often with the support of law enforcement and government health officials. (TomorrowWorld, unsurprisingly, is an offshoot of the popular Belgian festival TomorrowLand). For instance, police and local authorities in the Netherlands have been working with Unity—a group that is similar to DanceSafe—for more than decade.
DanceSafe and other harm reduction organizations are quick to point out that there is no completely safe way to ingest most illicit substances, however they also work to ensure preventable tragedies are avoided whenever possible. It will be interesting to see how their operation at TomorrowWorld goes. With plenty of states now seriously re-examining their drug policies for the first time in decades, we could be seeing a major shift in the way this country deals with recreational drug use.