With many of Toronto’s beloved venues shutting down, more and more youth are partying at home. And why not? A house party can be a safer space for folks to use drugs, be silly, hang out with friends and make it a night to remember. House parties also give you the power to make the rules about what goes and what doesn’t. Whether you’re partying or hosting, we can all have a blast by using some simple harm reduction tips:
Raving can be a great way to gain amazing friends, interesting people, hear some new tracks, and meet people from all over, but not all of us are lucky enough to just head down the street to a party and get home the same night. Some of us live outside of Toronto and have to travel quite a ways to get to a party.
We have done our fair share of these treks and have learned tricks to survive those long missions out and back home. Travelling from out of town can be scary and intense if you’re not use to it, but it can also be really fun! So here are some tips for SURVIVING A PARTY OUT OF TOWN. DUN DUN DAAAAA!
Getting there (and Back)
The first thing you need to think about is how you are gonna get there (and how your gonna get back). There are several different options, though not all of these will be available to everyone.
Valentine’s Day can be a time for lovers, pals or new experiences – whatever makes your heart flutter, make sure to think about consent.
Consent isn’t just for sexy times! You can give/get consent for hugs, cuddles, to tell someone’s story, to buy a cool person a drink or flirt. Consent means that folks know the whole picture of what’s going on and they’re stoked about it. Talking about consent can seem scary at first, but it’s essential for everyone to understand what consent is, and is not.
Disclaimer: In this post we will talk about sexy times with partners, fuck buddies, playmates and other folks, but feel free to use whatever language feels right for you. Continue reading
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.
Native Youth Sexual Health Network
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
Hey party people!
This spooktacular party season is turning out to be a chilly one!
Don’t forget these tips to keep you safe!
1. Prepare for the party!
- Pick up your safer partying supplies and info before you go out. You can grab supplies at our youth drop in, located at 168 Bathurst Street, on Wednesday October 24th or our Naloxone Training Kandi Jam & Halloween crafts drop-in on Wednesday October 31st, 4-6pm
- Test your substances
- 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!).
- UPDATE (9/27): The Ontario Government has made a change to the marijuana laws: starting October 17th Ontario residents will be able to smoke marijuana anywhere you can currently smoke tobacco. This means individuals will have the added option to smoke in areas other than private residencies. Source: https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/ontario-government-to-allow-pot-smoking-wherever-tobacco-smoking-allowed-1.4110679
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