The first days of the new year are often not kind to us party people. After going hard for hours on end to celebrate, reflecting on your use while nursing your hangover makes a lot of sense! Hopefully you were able to sneak some harm reduction strategies into your holiday partying by drinking water, not sharing straws or other drug use supplies and finding safe rides homes in the wee hours of 2019. It might be tempting to make a long list of all your resolutions for the new year but not so fast! That same philosophy that nudged you to party safer can also help you set realistic goals for your substance use.
A drug user’s guide to harm reduction new years resolutions
Hormone replacement therapy (often known by its acronym, HRT) is a medical treatment where the levels of sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone) are changed by using sex hormones and/or hormone blockers. HRTHormone replacement therapy is used for a variety of medical applications, ranging from relief of menopause symptoms, relief of andropause symptoms (andropause is kind of like the male version of menopause- cis mens’ testosterone levels decline with age, which can cause symptoms similar to menopause in cis women), and treating hormone sensitive cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. However, this literature will focus on the use of hormone replacement therapy to treat gender dysphoria in transgender and non binary people.
Be sure to check the GLOSSARY at the end of the post if there are any words that are new to you!.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE, AND THIS INFO IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A MEDICALLY SUPERVISED HRT REGIMEN.
This literature is based on information compiled from the lived experiences of trans people who are unable to access health care for hormonal transition, and decide to self-medicate HRT. Although the risks of HRT are very low when medically supervised, they are significantly higher when one is undergoing a DIY regimen. The information in this literature is only intended to provide a level of information that is slightly better than wild guessing for DIY HRT. The risks of DIY HRT cannot be eliminated or ruled out by following any of the info in this literature, and this is not intended to be information on how to administer DIY hormones safely. This is intended for the sake of getting information out there. Unfortunately, some online trans spaces ban discussion of things like recommended doses of hormones, which leaves people completely in the dark. Even though the risks of DIY HRT are alwaysstill present, it’s still better at the very least to know what dose ranges and what drugs are prescribed by doctors, rather than completely guessing what drugs and what doses to take. Continue reading →
There are many different models of harm reduction. The basic philosophy of harm reduction which recognizes drug use as a value neutral act and emphasizes the importance of any positive change, is steeped in white-settler ideology. Indigenous youth experience unique barriers, have unique cultural relationships to substances for ceremonies and experience the ongoing harms of colonization. If we truly want to reduce the harms that come with using drugs, we must start by looking at the traumatic violence that people who use drugs experience because of violent systems of oppression, like colonialism. The following harm reduction resources are examples of indigenizing harm reduction and making the philosophy relevant to indigenous youth who use drugs.
First Nations Health Authority: Has a resource on indigenous harm reduction that uses animals with spiritual significance in British Columbia to symbolize healing principles and harm reduction strategies.
Rather than using a four pillars model of harm reduction NYSHN uses a four fire model focusing on specific harm reduction for indigenous youth. http://www.nativeyouthsexualhealth.com/indigenizingharmreduction.html
The Learning Circle at University of British Columbia invited folks involved in indigenous harm reduction work to come speak about their work. Find this engaging conversation between indigenous peer workers where they:
Discuss nation-based cultural and traditional values that align with the principles of harm reduction
Explore definitions of intergenerational trauma and intergenerational strength and how this applies to harm reduction
Explore the Indigenous Principles of Healing and Harm Reduction model
Discuss the declaration of the public health emergency in response to opioid overdose, and the expanded Take Home Naloxone Program
Set a limit of how much you are going to drink or take. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in large crowds, so start low and slow. We’ve had reports of very strong pills/caps, so start with ¼ to ½ and wait 2 hours before redosing.
2. Remember to have a good meal before you go to party, or a couple hours before going out if having too full of a stomach would make you more prone to feeling sick.
It’s also a great idea to prep some soft, easy to eat foods at home for the come down. Ideas include smoothies, apple sauce, whole fruit (berries, banans, grapes, oranges are great!) or soup. Foods that are soft and wet tend to be more appealing if you have cotton mouth! Drink water too!
3. Dress for the weather!
Yes, your costume is GORGEOUS! <3 But you won’t be able to enjoy it if you are shivering in front of the burn barrels all night.
Be sure to check if your party is INDOORS or OUTDOORS, and bring a jacket and wear layers if you aren’t sure. You can always coat check them.
Even if you are going to a club, bring pants,tights,or sweatpants for when you are in line. You can stuff them in your coat sleeve when you get inside 🙂
If you’re drinking or taking other drugs, your body will be less able to regulate your body temperature. It may be tempting to take off your jacket (or clothing all together) if you are feeling warm, even if it is really cold. Check around you! If everyone else has a jacket on, you should too!
4. Stash some cash!
Expect prices will be high and plan accordingly if possible. Keep $10 in a safe place for water, and remember to drink it! Try to avoid sharing water bottles and pacifiers with friends – that’s how the cold, flu, and other viruses spread, including cold sores. Reduce the risk of getting sick! Your body will thank you later!
Plan your way home. Prices for ride share apps tend to SKYROCKET on big party nights so make sure you have money for transit, and a 24 hour route planned out to get you home at any time of night. Plan to have a sober driver. Keep bikes in a well lit area, and try to walk on major roads with a group.
Check in with your friends to make sure they get home safe, and never leave a highly intoxicated friend alone!
5. SelfIf the party is underground, remember to bring your own safety supplies including water, a flashlight, and NALOXONE especially if you are farther from the city. You can get a free kit at any major pharmacy, the works, or contact email@example.com and we will help you find spot close to you!
GHB has been up and down in popularity in Toronto’s party scene for decades. Some of the things that make GHB appealing as a party drug are its effects that are often described as being a cleaner feeling and more fun version of alcohol. GHB’s subjective effects are similar to alcohol in terms of the sedation and loss of coordination, but compared to alcohol, GHB tends to feature some slightly MDMAish feeling effects as well, with more pronounced experiences of social disinhibition and increased empathy, as well as more pronounced body high that is usually not present with alcohol. However, this aspect of the GHB experience is nowhere comparable to MDMA. GHB does not usually produce as severe of a hangover or a comedown like alcohol or MDMA might, which contributes to its appeal as a party drug. Some people like mixing GHB with stimulants or MDMA because it mellows out the speed/MDMA buzz while also having a very synergistic effect with the MDMA/speed buzz. Some people use GHB as an alternative to benzos to assist with coming down and sleeping from more stimulating drugs at the end of the night. Continue reading →
Marijuana is becoming legalized in Ontario on October 17th.
What will change on October 17th?
Marijuana will be legalized for recreational use!
You will be able to purchase marijuana online through the The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), physical stores will likely pop up sometime in 2019.
You will be able to use marijuana from the comfort of your home, including your balcony or yard. Marijuana can be used within condos or apartments, including your units balcony as long as there are no restrictions in your lease or building agreements.
You will be able to buy or possess up to 30 grams of dried recreational marijuana at one time.
Through the OCS you will be able to buy seeds and you can grow up to 4 plants per resident (not per person!).
There are many reasons why people use drugs. Drugs can provide spiritual experiences, pain relief, a perspective shift, the ability to acknowledge trauma, loads of dancey energy, act as a social lubricant and much more! However the reasons why people start using drugs may not be the reasons why they continue to use. For example, someone may smoke weed at first at a party to experiment or as an alternative to drinking but may continue smoking because they find it relaxing. Continue reading →
DMT is a psychedelic drug that is similar to mushrooms, both chemically and in terms of its subjective effects, but known to be far more intense due to its availability in smokeable form.
DMT used to be quite obscure, but has been increasing in popularity lately.
Usually available in smokeable form as a powder or crystal that is white to yellow and has a distinct aethereal smell. The Ehrlich reagent can be used to detect the presence of tryptamine psychedelics.
Have somebody else light your tokes for you! It is very dangerous to be holding a hot pipe full of liquid DMT while you are tripping your face off!
DMT is not physically harmful, but like other psychedelics, it has very intense mental and spiritual effects that are to be taken very seriously.
*DMT is one of the few psychedelics that can be smoked, and the quick and extreme peak of smoking a psychedelic leads to a very sudden and intense subjective experience compared to the usual doses of orally ingested psychedelics like LSD and mushrooms. *
DMT trips only last about 10 minutes, with a come-up that is less than a minute and a similarly fast comedown, but one should still take time to process the experience despite the short duration.
It first began appearing in the early to mid 2000s, and started seeing common usage a few years ago. Colloquial names include “Gentleman’s Speed” and “Flux”. It has shown up in certain circles in North America, but with more widespread adoption in Europe, especially the Netherlands. It is also sometimes sold as MDMA. 4-FA is a new psychoactive substance, and there is still much unknown about its long term effects, and lot of the knowledge of its effects so far is anecdotal. Therefore, one must be aware that they are a guinea pig when taking this substance. Despite the unknowns, there are some things that are known about the effects of this substance and with this knowledge, harm reduction measures can be practiced! Continue reading →
See our upcoming guide to how to still be social when you’re trying to cut back on drinking!
GOTTEN FROM FAITH AT PIECES TO PATHWAYS: Might be helpful for folks who are feeling alienated from the party scene because of recovery <3
Sober-friendly bars in Toronto
(Last updated June 2017)
This is a dynamic, crowd-sourced* list of bars and pubs in Toronto that overtly cater, in one way or another, to people that do not drink. Its purpose is to serve as a reference for sober people (be they in recovery, temporarily abstaining from booze, or are teetotal) who wish to go on a date or celebrate an occasion with something more adult than a ginger-ale or a shirley temple. Continue reading →