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HomeUncategorizedMusic festival embraces overdose-reversal drugs, but fentanyl test kits remain taboo

Music festival embraces overdose-reversal drugs, but fentanyl test kits remain taboo

A 26-year-old man was found dead in his campsite during the 2019 Poonaru Music and Arts Festival. Toxicology reports linked his death to a dire trend that has only worsened since then. In his system, ecstasy and fentanyl are a dangerous combination, especially if people don’t know that party drugs contain high-potency synthetic opioids. The secluded farm in Coffee County, Tennessee, seems to be making it easy to sneak pills and powders through security. These drugs may contain fentanyl, which is why medical staff working at these events are now carrying overdose of the reversal drug naloxone. But first responders can’t be everywhere, and this fast-acting drug needs to be given quickly.

“We’re using it a lot,” says Ohio-based Ingela Travers-Hayward The music festival at the nonprofit “This Must Be the Place” is filled with Kloxxado, a nasal spray A dose version of the life-saving medicine. “We want to walk around the campground and distribute proactively.”

Travers-Hayward and her husband William Perry, who became rehab counselors a decade after addiction sent him to prison, are this year Doses of Kloxxado donated by manufacturer Hikma Pharmaceuticals are distributed across the country over the summer. Their summer tour ends at Burning Man in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert over Labor Day weekend.

Music festivals used to be dismissive of naloxone, and some banned it. But even though so-called harm reduction — the concept of minimizing the negative effects of illicit drug use without trying to stop completely — has gained acceptance, it is far from being accepted. Less accepted than naloxone among concert promoters is helping people test their fentanyl drugs. Companies do not want to be seen as condoning drug use. They are also navigating legal grey areas and battling public perception.

In 2019, harm reduction advocates picket outside Bonnaroo because the festival does not allow recreational drugs to be tested for fentanyl. Live Nation, Bonnaroo’s majority shareholder and one of the world’s largest concert promoters, did not directly answer questions about whether it would now allow fentanyl testing, saying in an email that Bonnaroo had been looking to “take care of” Take care of yourself” approach and educate our customers. “

Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. continue to climb in 2021, with more than 100,000 drug deaths nationwide, two-thirds of which are caused by synthetic opioids. This has prompted federal and state governments to try Coming up with new ways to deal with the crisis, the Biden administration has provided $30 million to support programs that often operate in the shadows. Over the past few years, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has also fully embraced fentanyl testing Kits.

Still, many communities far from festival venues remain resistant to harm reduction strategies, especially fentanyl-testing kits. Dr. Yngvild Olsen, Director, SAMHSA Substance Abuse Treatment Center Saying that harm reduction requires a change in thinking, she encourages organisations to see harm reduction as a life-saving tool – especially when there is a potential for massive overdose.

” Finn The lethality of Tainey has been a game-changer because it only takes a little bit to stop people breathing,” Olson said. “If we have these very effective tools that we know can save people’s lives, I think this is We can unite. “

Participants at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee From a booth set up by This Must Be the Place, a nonprofit that distributes overdose reversal drugs at music festivals across the country.(William Perry)

Public Health agencies are increasingly recommending that even people who don’t use drugs can carry naloxone, which can be obtained by prescription or over-the-counter, although laws vary in different states. But governments are often working on harm reduction efforts. have taken a back seat to relying on nonprofits and volunteers.

“It’s a good line, and the health department is trying to stay on top of Lori Tremmel, CEO of the National Association of County Health Officials. Freeman said. Taking them to concert venues for meds and tracking free doses can be difficult, Perry said. “It’s not something someone puts on their to-do list.”

Even a generic form can be expensive for those willing to buy it. Designer reversal kits cost over $100 each (without insurance).

“We learned that all of these people knew what naloxone was — and they even knew people who got their lives on naloxone,” Travers-Hayward said . “But we were able to be the ones who gave them the real first kit.”

She and a team of volunteers distributed 2,500 doses at this year’s Bonnaroo. One death occurred during the four-day event in June, although no toxicology report has been released indicating whether an overdose was to blame.

Laws and policies regarding the distribution of such drug safety tools vary by state.​​​ For example, naloxone is still technically a prescription drug, so dispensing it means relying on good Samaritan laws that protect organizations and individuals from legal liability.

Although more states, including Tennessee, are legalizing fentanyl tests, they are still listed as illegal drug paraphernalia in some states. Even in states where test strips are legal, big festivals still don’t welcome them openly for fear of liability or image.

“They used to give us a long list of insurance requirements,” said the founder of Bunk Police, which sells test kits secretly during the holiday season. “We’ve scoured the planet, I kid you not, looking for an underwriter to cover us in this situation.”

The founder, named Adam Auctor, did not disclose His real name – he feared for his safety as he tracked down specific dealers and tried to convince them to destroy their supplies. Video of his testimony showed drug dealers in tears after realizing their drugs could kill someone. But others were less grateful, he said.

Auctor says he’s been kicked out of Bonnaroo twice and won’t go anymore. But he sneaked into various other festivals days in advance, parking trucks full of thousands of test kits in the woods for safety until he could fit into the crowd. “We hardly even ask for permission to come anymore,” he said. “We know they’re going to say ‘no’ to us.”

But the demand is high, he said.

“Drug testing is no longer an option,” said Mitchell Gomez, executive director of DanceSafe, a nonprofit that provides drug screenings in nightclubs and party venues and other public health education. “This is something anyone who uses substances must do.”

People line up for free naloxone at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, the harm-reduction nonprofit This Must Be the Place run by William Perry and Ingela Travers-Hayward. (William Perry)

DanceSafe follows the rules set by the promoters, although Gomez won’t reveal which festivals are collaborative. With permission, the nonprofit set up a tent with a tabletop machine to screen for fentanyl drugs.

Overdose—often from fentanyl-containing substances—is now the leading cause of death in Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. Dire trend lines have softened some promoters, Gomez says , but not all.

While the company’s legal team remains skeptical, Gomez said he sees potential liability as a two-way street. “If someone dies at your event that DanceSafe could have prevented, we’re on-site to contact you, and you reject us, and I actually think that might create some liability as well,” he said.

Sometimes he is popular at festivals but is forbidden to check for drugs. So Gomez distributed information about the dangers of fentanyl and gave away earplugs — a less controversial way to help people stay safe during the holiday season.

This article is from a partnership that includes Nashville Public Radio and KHN.



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