What is harm prevention?
A harm prevention initiative that provides compassionate care service and safe space at festivals within South Africa.
Our service has been designed to ensure the physical and psychological safety of festival attendees, offering a calm and safe environment for individuals who may have ingested substances and are having a challenging experience or provide information and education regarding various substances.
The Honest Drug Book: A Chemical & Botanical Journey Through The Legal High Years
The Honest Drug Book presents the hidden truth about a topic which touches the lives of almost everyone. It cuts through the blustering rhetoric of the war on drugs, and documents the facts about the subject in general, and about the individual drugs specifically.
This is a journey through 140 psychoactives, both chemical and botanical, each of which was personally tested
PsychonautWiki is a community-driven online encyclopedia that aims to formally document the field of psychonautics in a comprehensive, scientifically-grounded manner. Our primary motivations include:
- documenting all aspects of psychonautics (including practices like meditation, lucid dreaming, psychoactive substance use, sensory deprivation, ritual, etc.) from an evidence-based, scientific perspective.
- providing accessible education, encouraging safe practices, and reforming cultural taboos around the use of psychoactive substances using both expert and crowd-sourced information.
- promoting a culture of individual freedom and responsibility by providing the information necessary to make fully informed, conscious choices over one’s body and mind.
Our mission is to provide open discussion of harm reduction techniques and positive support. We promote the use of harm reduction tools such as test kits, and offer guidance and support with regards to harm reduction when using drugs. We encourage discussion of scientific, medical, philosophical understandings, and many of us can provide advice based on life experiences, an invaluable asset for someone who may be experiencing a similar issue. We are eager, willing, and prepared to guide or ‘tripsit’ users who may be having a hard time while under the influence of drugs.
Erowid is a member-supported organization providing access to reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related issues. We work with academic, medical, and experiential experts to develop and publish new resources, as well as to improve and increase access to already existing resources. We also strive to ensure that these resources are maintained and preserved as a historical record for the future.
Drugs and Me
Drugs and Me provides accessible, objective and comprehensive educational material to help reduce the short and long term harms of drugs.
We are a group of scientists, educators and analysts with extensive experience in drug education. We wanted to do something to stop the increasing number of accidents and deaths that occur in the world due to lack of drug education.
Tips for Trips...
Inspired by the 10 Commandments for Safer Drug Use from Dominic Milton Trott’s The Honest Drug Book.
Educate yourself in advance.
Know and understand the substances you plan on taking. Understand the dosage, effects as well as side effects and how long the interaction in your body will be.
It is never a good idea to buy drugs at festivals, especially impulse purchases from strangers. It is easy to be mislead by strangers and you might not end up with what you intended as the drugs may be of poor quality or even contain other substances that might have a severe and adverse effect on your body. This is especially relevant to first time users who might not get what they bargained for.
It is all about dosage
Properly and rationally consider the dose. Have regard for your circumstance, and all the information you have accumulated about the drug. If you are in a social setting, do not succumb to peer-pressure.
Consider your medical history
Things to take into consideration are your body weight, pre-existing medical conditions and contra-indications from other medication or substances you might also have ingested. Always remember that each person’s body is unique and there can be a wide range of responses to the same substance, when taken by different people, even at the same dosage.
Less is more
You can always top up, but once you have taken a substance and feel the effects, it’s a bit late to turn back. Always remember that you can take more if you need to, but you cannot un-take what you have already taken. This is especially relevant when you are taking a substance for the first time and you are yet to establish how it will interact with your unique physiology. And always remember that an overdose on certain substances is a reality and should be taken into consideration. An overdose can result in long term health consequences or even death.
Slow and steady
Even though some substances may have a quick interaction time, some substances may take up to 2 hours before the full dosage is in effect. You might think it's not very strong at first, but it can surprise you and then you may have upped your intake based on the assumption that you are feeling the full effects. This is even relevant for taking substances you have taken before, especially if you have gotten them from a new source. Remember that different batches may have varying effects and never assume its business as usual.
Verify through testing
In general, reagent tests can be used to reduce the general risks of substances that have been mis-represented or modified. It is important to note, however, that only lab grade equipment will give you the true accuracy measurement of the strength/purity of the tested substance
You should find out if the event you plan to attend has any onsite drug testing facility available and make use of them.
If you are not able to test the substances you plan on taking, you should take extra precautions and take a very small dose first and wait the full recommended 2 hours before taking more. This will enable you to lower the risk of any potential allergic or adverse reaction. This will also help to verify that you are taking what you intended to take, or that you do not accidentally take more than the recommended dose.
One substance at a time
Mixing various substances can have unpredictable side effects and can put severe strain on your body Some combinations can even be potentially lethal, e.g. alcohol and ketamine. Medications can interact dangerously with some controlled drugs. If you do intend to cocktail drugs, please check out Tripsit’s drug combination chart to understand what the likely results may be.
This should be taken very seriously. It is a serious question. If you are feeling under the weather or you are generally sickly or in poor health, these conditions may be exacerbated or worsened during the experience and my have serious implications with respect to body.
Some drugs can intensify whatever mood, feeling or psychological space you are experiencing at the current time. They may amplify your mood and can extend these feelings for uncomfortable periods of time. If you are feeling anxious, manic or depressed you should proceed with caution or avoid taking any substances that could exaggerate your current mental state.
Plan your experience and set the framework. Never make rash and impulsive decisions while under the influence of another substance.
Stick to your pre-determined dose and be patient. Never jump to conclusions and assume that what you have taken does not work if nothing happens within the expected time frame. Double dosing is a serious and common mistake.
Unless you pre-planned to redose from the start, you should secure the remainder of the substance out of immediate reach to prevent impulsive redosing. Only have tthe intended dose on you.
It is not a competition
Do not compare yourself with your friends or other people. Your body is unique and everyone has different tolerance levels and sensitivities.
No one knows the future, or what may happen in advance. Things can happen in a split second and you may need a strangers help. It is a very good idea to write down what drugs you’re using and place the note in a prominent place on your person. In the worst case scenario, this may be critical in assisting the emergency services and can save your life!
It is critical to look after yourself and make sure your rested, hydrated and nutritionally balanced and fed. If you have pushed yourself a bit, make sure to drink plenty of fluids, eat well and get some rest.
A commonly overlooked danger is sleep deprivation. This alone can lead to hallucinations, mood swings and even psychosis. Combining this with various mind altering substances can lead to some serious and unpredictable side effects. Sleep deprivation is also amplify some of the related side effects of some substances, including anxiety and paranoia.
High temperatures and physical activities, such as dancing can accelerate dehydration. Ad alcohol and stimulant substances to the mix and you may quickly have a problem. Make sure to have a water bottle with you at all times and fill it up regularly and make sure you have a good supply of water at your tent as well.
Don't take in too much fluid’s in one go.
Excessive fluid intake can actually speed up the dehydration process and you can delepete your body of essential minerals. This can lead to cramping or a weakened physical or mental state. Rather take sips at intervals than drinking a whole bottle in one go.
A good balanced meal does more than just keep you physically and mentally balanced. It can also reduce the irritation caused by alcohol & ingested substances. It generally slows the uptake of alcohol in your bloodstream and ensures you replace the salts and minerals your body has lost while drinking alcohol or vigorous physical activities, such as dancing.
Leave no one behind
Make sure you are with people you know and can trust to be there if things go sideways. Make sure everyone in your company knows what to do in a drug/alcohol related emergency and what substances you have taken and at what times. If something happens to one of your friends, never hesitate to get help. Approach any official or person working at the event, weather a security guard or stage hand or anyone who has a radio. Never leave a person who is passed out from either drugs or alcohol unattended., t do not hesitate to call for assistance, speak to the nearest steward, security guard or anyone with a radio. If a friend has passed out from drink or drugs do not leave them unattended.
If you see someone that looks to be having a difficult time, approach them and ask them if they’re ok and offer to walk them to either the medics or designated support area such as Sci Care South Africa tent, if available. If they refuse help but you’re worried about them, alert security or an event staff member.
Teamwork is dream work
Familiarize yourself with the medical and welfare teams and where they are situated and feel confident about using them. Remember, they are there to help you, not judge you and just want to make sure you are all having a great time.