The Must-Have Gear for Going Out This Summer? Narcan!


Last year, com moved on Instagram, Morgan Godvin took a bold swing. The Portland-based publisher and harm reduction activist sent direct messages to the indie rap act Atmosphere, calling for the distribution of naloxone, a drug to reverse opioid overdose on its next tour. He did not necessarily expect a response from his DM. It was a wild request. But to Godvin’s surprise, not only did Atmosphere respond, but they enthusiastically accepted.

Godvin went into action. With the help of a network of volunteers, he donated naloxone (often mentioned by his brand, Narcan) to Atmosphere shows across the country. It was not an easy task, as naloxone is often difficult and expensive to obtain, and each state has its own rules regarding its distribution. But the efforts were swift and obviously fruitful. “At the Albuquerque show, we literally saved people’s lives,” Godvin says. “Damage reductionists reversed two overdoses: one during the show, one in the parking lot afterwards.”

Godvin’s organization, Beats Overdose, is gearing up for another summer tour. Not too soon – drug overdoses are skyrocketing, and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a sad record of more than 100,000 fatalities in 2021. Synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyl , have greatly contributed to this increase. “The supply of drugs is becoming increasingly unpredictable,” says Sheila Vakharia, deputy director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Research and Academic Participation Department. Even people who buy pills need to be careful, warns Vakharia, as counterfeiters are pushing fentanyl to make it look like prescription drugs like Oxycontin. And while it’s not such a common problem, overdose groups are sometimes caused by cocaine, methamphetamines, and other non-opioid drugs inadvertently contaminated with fentanyl. Meanwhile, the weather is warming up, people are restless and the festival season has begun. A hedonistic summer is looming, which is why Narcan is essential.

Godvin is not the only activist to rise among the crowds. Ingela Travers-Hayward and William Perry, an Ohio-based couple, recently founded the nonprofit organization This Must Be the Place with the mission of offering Narcan to the crowded summer events. Starting in late May, they will travel the United States to perform Narcan at eight festivals, including Tennessee’s Bonnaroo, Cleveland’s Wonderstruck, and the legendary Burning Man art festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. “We knew everyone would be partying again this summer, maybe even more than I normally would,” says Perry. With the supply of medicines as contaminated as it is, however, it is concerned. “They’re going to get into a buzz saw.”

Travers-Hayward and Perry decided to sign up for the festivals because they think there will be a large population of people who are not regular drug users but who decide to venture into it. Without tolerance, the chances of overdose are especially likely. “We thought, you know, we’re going to email the festivals, maybe we’ll end up in one or two in Ohio,” Travers-Hayward says. “But then we started getting good feedback.” The duo have even had to turn down some festivals because they don’t have the bandwidth to be there. Narcan will faint from the enclosure huts. “We’ve been lucky that the seats are fully on board.”

This has not always been the case. Colorado attorney Daniel Garcia has been taking naloxone for a long time, and he initially encountered some resistance. Ten years ago, as a volunteer for the public health organization DanceSafe, he went to a show in Denver equipped with naloxone. The owners of the place did not let him take it. “They put on some squirrel,” he says. Garcia recalls that they were concerned that it might seem like they were taking away drug use, as they had previous issues with people using drugs on shows. “My counter was, well, you’re admitting you’re going through all this and you’re getting in trouble for it. Wouldn’t it be safer and better to have medicines and services to prevent overdoses and deaths on the dance floor? to buy”. But now, Garcia says, he has no problem taking naloxone. “Everyone knows it. Now, lately, I actually have one thanks for bringing it. ”



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