The war on drugs is an ongoing battle globally, though there are a number of cities that are looking for other solutions – including Toronto. One Canadian City Councillor, Joe Cressy, believes that harm reduction and prevention strategies work better than trying to fight drug use. A report from CBC gave us insight on the new perspective the city is taking.
“People use drugs,” he said. “So telling people not to use drugs doesn’t work; in fact, it leads to more deaths unnecessarily. But if people know what’s in those drugs we can help to prevent the unnecessary loss of life.”
The changed mindset is gaining traction after six overdoses in the city’s nightlife and with a new festival season coming up. Others argue that this type of prevention only promotes drug use.
It’s been proven that people will still partake in drugs whether they are against the law or not. The city of Toronto saw “a 73 percent increase between 2004 and 2015, with many of those being linked to powerful opioids like fentanyl.”
Shambhala Music Festival is one of the only festivals that offer free, no-hassle drug testings. The ANKORS medical services team has been working with the festival for the past 13 years offering testing supplies, services and information.
The city is moving towards better prevention strategies similar to Shambhala and will be working with hospital testing labs to create a proper drug testing program. With political pushes like the RAVE Act and other festivals showing interest, it’s more likely that we’ll see this technique used more in the future.
Watch the video below for more information on harm reduction practices used by festivals.