Where we came from
The Trip! Project was born in 1995 out of a need for appropriate drug and sex information within the Toronto rave scene. The act of partying often meant using drugs, and for some, being promiscuous. These activities, on their own as well as together, had the potential to put people at risk for drug dependencies, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and more. That’s where the Trip! Project came in. A recruitment process began with a community picnic, organized by Kim Stanford, at the time an HIV Educator working for Toronto Public Health. From there came the volunteers from within the community, who contributed their time, energy and creativity into making the Trip! Project a unique and innovative drug and sex education project.
The idea of harm reduction was relatively new to the general public at this time in North America, although it had been widely practiced in Indigenous and First Nations communities and in nightlife settings in particular in Europe for some time and with great success. It was a concept that ravers were into as it was new and different, and it challenged social constructs and empowered individuals to make their own decisions around their lives and how to live them — with awareness. Trip! blossomed into a huge community success. In the following years, the North American rave scene would see several other rave-based harm reduction projects sprout up in communities across the continent. We can’t take credit for creating rave-based harm reduction — several European groups and one South African project had already been at it for some time. Much respect to them as they have pioneered a strong and influential movement that continues to this day.
What we offer
Trip! provides several services to Toronto’s dance communities and beyond. Most notably the project is known for its onsite outreach booths, a vendor-style setup staffed by 2-3 youth outreach workers and volunteers, which offers a display of safer drug use and safer sex information and supplies. We also host kandi jams and kit making where youth who use drugs (or youth who are connected to youth who use drugs) can chill, talk about harm reduction and when in-person at PQWCHC, can pick up condoms, lube, safer use kits of all kinds, get support around getting their drugs checked, use safer consumption services or get a referral to in-house counselling, medical care or case management services.
All Trip! staff and volunteers are trained in harm reduction, anti-racist and anti-oppression based basic support, crisis intervention, how to handle drug-related emergencies, and CPR. Therefore, Trip!’s presence adds first responders in the event of an emergency as well as a more comfortable space to get peer support in situations where a friendly ear is all that is needed if something comes up for someone while partying, which increases the safety & comfort of all in attendance at any given event. All of our onsite services are FREE to underground communities, and Trip! gratefully receives free admission to events by event organizers. Trip! also is happy to connect for outreach at larger, more mainstream nightlife events or venues, though there may be some costs associated with that in order for Trip! to focus primarily on reaching populations of more diverse youth in need of harm reduction support. The Trip! Project provides general information, referrals & support to community members outside of the party environment.
Trip! provides a variety of workshops across Toronto and webinars to groups based in Toronto on safer drug use, safer sex, and safer partying to other organizations, schools, youth programs or groups of youth or services providers who are connected to youth who use drugs. All workshops are catered to the demographic at hand. Topics include: harm reduction & anti-stigma, overdose prevention, relationships & consent, harm reduction 201 topics (safer dosing, party n play, sex work, boundaries in harm reduction work) or if you have an idea that’s not on this list, please reach out and we’ll see what we can put together for your group!
Trip! Project respectfully acknowledges that our youth harm reduction efforts take place on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples, in what is now known as Toronto.
As a program working towards increasing access to harm reduction and reducing drug-related risks to youth, we recognize firsthand how colonialism, systemic racism, (hetero)patriarchy, homophobia and transphobia have a direct impact on the health inequities we see across marginalized communities. Black, Indigenous and other people of colour (BIPOC) as well as 2SLGBTQIA+ folks experience some of the highest rates of overdose, mental health issues and HIV in our country. Trip! is committed to working with and alongside BIPOC and queer communities to ensure better health outcomes for all.