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Harm Reduction: Psychedelic Support and Danger Prevention [ONLINE]
December 16, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
by The Psychedelic Society (UK)
With an upward trend in the number of people consuming drugs and the number of psychoactive drugs available, knowing, and avoiding the risks is a matter of urgency. Recreational drug-use has been ongoing throughout human history and is unavoidable. With prohibition placing the access of drugs in the hands of the black market, how can we as a society prevent dangers related to drug use?
From welfare support for those experiencing “bad trips”, to services which test the purity of street drugs, what strategies do we have in place and what challenges do we face in developing harm-reduction services further? What is the link between recreational drug use and mental health issues and can the risks such as paranoia and psychosis be avoided? And finally, how can we start to move from a conversation of harm-reduction to maximising the benefits drug-induced experiences can offer?
Decoding things like the importance of set-and-setting, what it really means to be a “trip-sitter” and investigating dangerous drug interactions, this panel will explore current and future tactics to combat a global crisis of uncontrolled drug misuse.
The panel will be in two-parts with pre-planned discussion topics followed by an audience Q&A. Date: 15th December (TBC), 7-9pm UK time.
Sara Gael, MA: Harm Reduction Officer, MAPS and Zendo Project
Sara received her master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology at Naropa University. She started working with MAPS in 2012, coordinating psychedelic harm reduction services at festivals and events worldwide with the Zendo Project. She served as the Director of Harm Reduction at MAPS from 2017-2020. Sara continues to train individuals and organisations in principles of psychedelic peer support. She is a therapist for the MAPS clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD and also maintains a private practice as a psychotherapist specialising in trauma, integration, non-ordinary states of consciousness and Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy.
She serves on the board of directors at DanceSafe and as the Harm Reduction advocate on the city of Denver Psilocybin policy review panel. Sara believes that developing a comprehensive understanding of psychedelic medicines through research and education is essential for the health and well-being of individuals, communities and the planet.
Adam Waugh: Psycare UK and “Sesh Safety”
Adam Waugh is involved in various projects that help reduce the harms of drug use in the night-time economy. He is a core team member of psychedelic welfare charity PsyCare UK, providing welfare support for drug-related incidents at festivals and music events, a senior harm reduction volunteer with drug safety checking organisation, The Loop, and helps run the online peer-led harm reduction community “Sesh Safety” whose purpose is to raise awareness about drugs and effects of abuse.
Guy Jones: The Loop and founder of Reagent Tests UK
Guy has a background in chemistry and has been involved with drug science for the last 10 years in various roles. He has a deep interest in the intersection of drug analysis and harm reduction, using lab technology beyond its ability to simply analyse but also to engage people and empower them to reduce risk.
He is the founder of Reagent Tests UK, Senior Scientist with The Loop, providing drug safety testing, welfare and harm reduction services, and a Trustee for festival welfare charity Psycare UK.
Orsi Feher SSDP and PsyCare Austria
Orsi Fehér is the co-founder and managing director of PsyCare, a peer-based harm reduction organisation in Austria and an avid advocate for drug policy reform. She has a degree in economics and communication science that she earned researching the psychedelic stigma in the former Eastern Bloc and its consequences in academia. She is a yogi, a community organizer, a former officer on the NGO Committee on Drugs at the United Nations and an enthusiast of North American pop culture.