Summary: Playboy investigates how services such as the Zendo Project and DanceSafe address the reality of drug use at festivals by providing harm reduction and drug education services for attendees. MAPS Director of Harm Reduction Linnae Ponté describes how psychedelics affect people at these events, the importance of integrating transformative experiences, and how compassionate care can help festival attendees undergoing a difficult psychedelic experience. “To me, it’s mind-boggling that there isn’t automatically this type of service,” explains Ponté.
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Like sex, drugs can be a controversial topic. And also like sex, the polarizing approaches to drug education are abstinence and protection. Harm reduction is a drug policy philosophy that falls into the latter—rather than try to enforce a drug-free society, harm reduction programs operate on the belief that people will take drugs despite laws or punishments, and instead seeks to reduce potential harms from drug use.
These programs are gradually growing a presence at music festivals. Lightning in a Bottle is an annual festival in California that’s at the forefront of this progressive approach.Playboy’s Yoonj Kim attends and talks to DanceSafe and the Zendo Project, two different programs within the harm reduction movement, to find out more.