Nothing Spooky About Safe Drug Use
As we approach the enchanted Halloween week, we also approach the casual tradition of Halloween parties. Packed with cover bands, throwback horror movie nights, dance and house parties, the week leading up to Halloween can be a time to celebrate fun. Besides the more common use of alcohol, drugs are often used at Halloween flavored events. Depending on the type of party, drugs used can vary from “uppers” like; Cocaine, Ecstasy, and Molly to “downers” like; the increasingly popular Xanax, a variety of Benzos and prescription drugs, to Psychedelics and Weed. Because of the recent epidemic of fentanyl related overdoses. I wanted to take this time to advocate for safe drug use. The de-stigmatization of drug use is vital in making sure that safety is prioritized. This is all a part of changing the focus from not whether or not people use drugs, but whether or not people who are going to be using drugs, use them safely.
Created in 1959, Fentanyl is a cheap and highly addictive synthetic painkiller that is medically used to treat cancer patients for extreme discomfort. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times stronger than another painkiller, Morphine. Because of its strength, it is used by illicit drug manufacturers to enhance their product.
According to a John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study, Fentanyl Overdose Reduction Checking Analysis Study (FORECAST), in the last 5 years, “Fentanyl and its associated analogues (including carfentanyl, furanyl fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl) have been found mixed with heroin, cocaine and pressed into counterfeit prescription drugs.” This fact has created concern from many harm reduction organizations such as The People’s Harm Reduction Alliance, Portland People’s Outreach Project (PPOP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), DanceSafe, and the Harm Reduction Coalition who all are actively supplying Fentanyl testing strips and Naloxone (an opioid overdose reversal medication). Such a significant concern is being raised that in 2015 the DEA sent out a nationwide alert naming Fentanyl as a “threat to health and public safety.”
Prevention and Drug Use Safety
If it happens that you or your friends find yourselves using any substances this week, or in the future, the best way to make sure that you and your friends are safe is by testing your drugs. A pack of 10 fentanyl test strips can be purchased on DanceSafe.com with free shipping for only $19.99. If you are hosting a party or an event, consider purchasing the test strips, and Naloxone (an opioid overdose reversal medication), or contacting local harm reduction sites like PPOP to see if they have any available they would be able to supply to you. These precautions are proven to save lives, and could very well save your own!
Be safe and have a wonderful Halloween week.