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The Trip! Project provides safer sex and drug information and supplies to party people in Toronto's electronic music communities. We neither condone nor condemn the use of any drug, and provide factual information to help partiers make informed decisions that directly affect their long-term health. The Trip! Project! is a grassroots initiative that sprouted in the summer of 1995 and has since nurtured healthy and wise choices among those in our communities. Donate today by clicking on the button below!

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4-FA || Fluoroamphetamine



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!

4-FA or 4-Fluoroamphetamine, or if you wanna get even more nerdy about it, 4-Flouroalphamethylphenethylamine, is a stimulant drug that has some entactogenic (huggy/lovey) effects. It belongs to the chemical class of substituted amphetamines, a sub-category of the substituted phenethylamine class. Chemically, it differs from amphetamine only by a flourine atom substitution at the 4 position of the phenethylamine backbone’s benzene ring. This is fancy talk for “4-FA is only one flourine atom different from amphetamine”. 4-FA can be identified with a sky blue reaction on the Mandelin reagent, orange with the Liebermann reagent.

Pharmacology 4-FA acts as a releasing agent and reuptake inhibitor for serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. This means that these neurotransmitters get both pushed out of the presynaptic neuron into the synaptic cleft, where they activate the corresponding receptors on the post-synaptic neuron, and they are also being blocked from being taken back up to the presynaptic neuron by the drug molecule’s affinity to the transporter proteins on the reuptake pump of the presynaptic neuron, causing these neurotransmitters to activate the receptors to a much greater extent than usual. Essentially, they are pushed out and blocked from being re-used. The way in which it compares to MDMA and amphetamine is that MDMA mostly acts as a releasing agent and reuptake inhibitor for serotonin, while amphetamine acts mostly as a releasing agent and reuptake inhibitor for dopamine and norepinephrine, so 4-FA is kind of a mixture of all three. Although MDMA also acts as a serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine releaser, it is much more focused on serotonin than the other two, and amphetamine more focused on dopamine and norepinephrine, with 4-FA being a more even balance in its releasing and re-uptake inhibition of either three. [1]
Thus, it is speculated that 4-FA acting as a releasing agent for three neurotransmitters with a more balanced extent among the three may be the reason for its subjective effects that are somewhere in between amphetamine and MDMA- dopamine and norepinephrine releasing agents are generally more “speedy” and serotonin releasing agents are generally more empathogenic. However, the exact nuances of how pharmacological differences correspond to subjective differences remains speculative 4fa pharmacology.png
Subjective Effects
The character of the 4-FA experiences is usually described as less overtly stimulating than speed or coke, and less "lovey" than MDMA (you might not be asking to pet a strangers hair while waiting in the bathroom line for example - but you still might). Eye wiggles, or nystagmus, can occur at higher doses and many of its effects and side effects are similar to speed and MDMA. It generally presents a biphasic pattern of subjective effects where the first three to four hours feature some of the empathogenic effects of MDMA, although not as highly pronounced and to the extent of being a highly spiritual experience as it may be with MDMA, and is generally more of a “party drug” nature compared to the very poignant, emotionally stirring, and soul revealing feelings experienced on MDMA, with the offset of the experience presenting with a milder feeling dextramphetamine like stimulation.
It should be noted that since adulteration of MDMA has become so widespread, many people do not really know what pure MDMA feels like and the more stimulating “party” style of empathogenic effects may be favoured by some partiers, especially if 4-FA is being sold as MDMA and the person doesn’t know they are taking 4-FA. Pure MDMA, which is quite rare these days, tends to be more of a poignant soul searching type experience where you pretty much become a saint for 6 hours (which is why a Catholic priest who tried it back in the day gave it the nickname “ecstasy”) but it also is less stimulating and doesn’t provide as much energy for dancing as might be usually expected for some. 4-FA is still lovey dovey but in a more fun, hedonistic, and hyped up way, similar to how most adulerated M is like these days. The four hours of the more stimulating and partyish empathogenic phase of effects is followed by a dextroamphetamine like stimulation within the following four hours, but of a generally “smoother” or more encouraged nature compared to dextroamphetamine. It is known colloquially as “Gentleman’s Speed” for this reason. Despite the cute nickname and more agreeable subjective effects, it should be noted that all the usual harm reduction strategies that apply to other amphetamines as well as MDMA, apply to 4-FA.
Comparison of Subjective Effects Between Amphetamine, 4-FA, and MDMA




Most stimulating, with stimulation feeling harsh or forced in mid to high doses, making it difficult to unwind

Prominent stimulant effects, enhances energy for activities like dancing, but feels more controllable and easier to unwind than amphetamine

Has some stimulating effects that promote dancing, but mild enough that one does not feel too antsy for chill activities like cuddle puddles, and with a distinct anxiety reduction effect that promotes unwinding rather than inhibits unwinding  

Sociability enhancement tends to be based on feelings of ego inflation- social effects result from confidence enhancement. Confidence enhancement may turn to paranoia with high dose/repeated use.  

Aspects of both ego softening and ego inflation. The sociability enhancement is warmer than amphetamine and has some empathogenic effects, but not to an entheogenic (aka catalyzing spiritual experiences) extent

Sociability enhancement is based on feelings of ego softening. Immense feelings of unity, love, and trust that may lead to deep bonds and spiritual experiences. The euphoria is often of a profound nature.

Minimal sensory enhancement relative to stimulation

Minimal sensory enhancement relative to stimulation

Pronounced sensory enhancment- music sounds better than ever, touch feels magical, extreme urge to cuddle

Tendency for compulsive redosing

Tendency for compulsive redosing

Lower rate of compulsive redosing compared to amphetamine or 4-FA

Harsh come-down

Moderate harsh come-down

Softest come-down of the three

Does not feature emotional catharisis

Does not feature emotional catharisis

Ability to induce emotionally cathartic experiences in the right setting

Dosage and Duration
Dosage is usually similar to MDMA, about 80-120 mg or a mostly full small (size 4) capsule, depending on the consistency of the powder. If one is eyeballing this substance, it is recommended to take a few sprinkles, wait for the little bit to take effect, and stagger it out based on how the starter dose feels. Volumetric Liquid Dosing is one way to accurately measure milligram amounts.
Doses between 20mg and 80mg produce effects similar to about 10-40mg of dextroamphetamine, but with a generally more encouraged stimulation that doesn’t feel as harsh, speedy, or tweaky as dextroamphetamine.
The oral onset time is about 30-60 minutes, with a 45-90 minute come-up, which is more gradual than dextroamphetamine, and especially MDMA. MDMA is well known for having a fast onset where one goes from feeling nothing to rolling balls between the 40 minute mark to the 60 minute mark, which is not the case with the more gradual come up of 4-FA. It peaks at about 2 hours after dosing, with effects staying close to peak between 3-6 hours, and about a 4-8 hour offset, with after effects of feeling drained and fuzzy that persist for another few hours. The overall duration is slightly longer than with dextroamphetamine. This will vary based on individual sensitivities. Route of administration is also a variable, and onset time, and duration are decreased if snorted or taken in other ways, in which the onset time tends to be within about 5-15 minutes, with about a 3-4 hour peak and 3-6 hour offset. Snorting 4-FA really burns and is not recommended due to its possibly caustic nature. 4fa duration chart.png
Physical Effects
The physical effects are marked by increased alertness, heart rate, blood pressure, appetite suppression, bruxism (jaw clenching), and nystagmus (eye wiggles). Seizures appear to be rare but possible, especially in those prone or physically stressed. The risk for seizures can be reduced by following the harm reduction measures and not combining with drugs that also decrease the seizure threshold, the details of which are discussed later in this literature.
Sleep may be difficult or impossible until a few hours after it wears off and eating may be an unappealing concept, but still recommended. It’s ideal to eat and be well slept before dosing because appetite will be suppressed and one may not feel hungry or sleepy until 12-16 hours after dosing. These effects are magnified in higher dose scenarios. Some people feel urges to redose when the effects start to fade- this is best avoided if possible due to the long duration, and the risk for adverse mental health consequences like mania or psychosis with repeated use similar to stimulant psychosis that may occur with long binges of other amphetamines. If one does choose to re-dose, set boundaries regarding getting enough sleep and food, and not going on too long of a bender. One thing to keep in mind if one experiences the urge of compulsive redosing is that redosing will generally add more to the comedown type effects rather than restoring the high.
Use as an ADHD Treatment

Due to 4-FA being a research chemical with unknown long term effects, it is not recommended to use this substance at sub recreational doses to self medicate for ADHD, and even if it may be indeed helpful for managing ADHD symptoms and smoother and more easygoing feeling than prescribed amphetamines, there is too much that is yet unknown about this compound for it to be used frequently as an ADHD drug.  
Risks and Harm Reduction

Very little is known about the long term risks of taking 4-FA, and it is likely neurotoxic, like most drugs in the amphetamine family.  A fairly closely related drug, 4-Chloroamphetamine, is highly neurotoxic, but it is unknown whether the fluorine substitution at the 4 position of the benzene ring on the phenethylamine backbone differs in terms of neurotoxicity compared to the chlorine substitution.
The extent to which the neurotoxic effects of 4-FA compare to either MDMA or amphetamine are not very well known. The mechanism of the neurotoxic effects is due to the oxidative stress to the serotonergic neurons that occurs when the drug binds to the serotonin transporter at the presynaptic neuron’s reuptake pump. Normally, serotonin is “recycled” through the reuptake pump back into the presynaptic neuron from the synaptic cleft, with only a specific amount of serotonin present in the synaptic cleft being broken down by the monamine oxidase enzyme. When drugs such as MDMA or 4-FA bind to the serotonin transporter and block serotonin from being reuptaken back up from the synaptic cleft back to the presynaptic neuron, a larger than usual amount of serotonin remains in the synaptic cleft that eventually gets broken down by the monoamine oxidase enzyme. Since more serotonin than usual is oxidised, this causes something called oxidative stress, which can be thought of being like “rusting” of the serotonergic neurons. However, there are strategies that can be used to mitigate this possible risk, which are discussed in more detail in A No-Nonsense Guide to MDMA Harm Reduction, where 4-FA is mentioned as a common MDMA adulterant. Note that due to the RC nature of 4-FA, not much is known about it, and this harm reduction info is based on the assumption that 4-FA has similar risks on the serotonergic system as MDMA.
Such harm reduction measures include:

  • Using only once a season. The biggest variable for neurotoxic effects is frequency of use. It takes a while for the body to replenish depleted neurotransmitters, and the effects of oxidative stress tend to be cumulative. Both MDMA and 4-FA have deleterious effects when used every weekend, and should be spaced out every three months, and once per month at the most.
  • Do not take more than you need to feel the effects. Once you have achieved euphoric effects, taking more will not only take away from the euphoria and increase unpleasant side effects, but also add to the neurotoxicity. Doses exceeding 120mg are not recommended.
  • Body temperature is a huge variable. Chemical reactions generally occur at a much faster rate when the body temperature is higher, and this is especially a sensitive factor in terms of the activity of enzymes that like monoamine oxidase. 4-FA can cause overheating due to the increased serotonin signalling signalling the body to increase temperature, and if the body temperature is higher than usual, monoamine oxidase is much more active and much more oxidative stress occurs compared to a cool environment. Consider the set and setting- if you are using this substance at a summer festival, for example, ensure there are shaded areas and lots of water available, and take breaks from dancing. If the weather is above 30*C, it may be best to wait until after the sun sets to dose.
  • Antioxidants like vitamin C help reduce the extent of oxidative stress, although this is by no means a security blanket for other forms of harm reduction.
  • 5-HTP is not a miracle cure and can be dangerous if not used correctly. 5-HTP must be taken AFTER one has fully come down, NEVER during or before, as this could cause serotonin syndrome- a medical emergency. Do not rely on 5-HTP as a magical serotonin replenisher- it takes a while for all the serotonin in your gut to be transported to the central nervous system. 97% of serotonin exists in the gut, and taking 5-HTP will not necessarily immediately replenish serotonin levels quickly or immediately. The only benefit it has is that it skips one enzymatic conversion from tryptophan- a dietary amino acid that is converted into 5-HTP and then serotonin. 5-HTP should also not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet that contain sufficient levels of tryptophan.   
Cardiac Risks
Based on anecdotal reports, it appears as if 4-FA presents a higher risk of adverse cardiovascular effects than other amphetamines. There have been reports from the Netherlands, where this substance is most commonly used, where a migraine like syndrome consisting of a severe headache occurred after moderate usage of this substance, which has been associated with strokes. IF YOU HAVE A SEVERE HEADACHE DURING/AFTER 4-FA USE, DISCONTINUE THIS SUBSTANCE AND SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. [2]
Combinations with other psychoactives:
High risk, potentially fatal: 25x-nBOME: This class of substances is notorious for causing seizures, hospitalization, and even death on its own, and 4-FA exponentially adds to these dangers by decreasing the seizure threshold even more. Not only that, but the subjective experience of a stimulant with an unpredictable and dose sensitive psychedelic is very likely to be extremely traumatizing.  
MAOIs such as syrian rue, banisteriopsis caapi, 2C-T-2, 2C-T-7, αMT, and some antidepressants: These combinations can cause a potentially fatal medical emergency called serotonin syndrome. Other drugs that can cause serotonin syndrome in combination with 4-FA include DXM and tramadol. This is not an exhaustive list.
Buproprion (aka Wellbutrin, Zyban, etc.): This prescription antidepressant is notorious for decreasing the seizure threshold, and seizures are more likely with this combination than with either substance alone.  
Cocaine: The stimulant effects of cocaine can cause the physical effects of both drugs to stack up to a dangerous extent.
MDMA and its stimulant adulterants: The neurotoxiticity is increased with this combination, and the stimulant effects can stack to a dangerous extent.
Other amphetamines (meth, speed, Dexedrine, Adderall, Vyvanse, etc.): Since these drugs have very similar effects to 4-FA, a dangerous extent of stacking of effects can occur, and the neurotoxiticy from either drug alone is increased in combination.
5-HTP: If 5-HTP is taken before 4-FA, or while the effects of 4-FA are still occuring, serotonin syndrome can occur. It is imperative that 5-HTP is taken the next day, not only with 4-FA but any serotonin releasing drug such as MDMA.
Take caution: Alcohol: Both of these substances enhance each other’s neurotoxic effects. Alcohol increases dehydration and the risk of overheating and increased oxidative stress on serotonergic neurons. The long lasting stimulating effects of 4-FA may also mask the subjective feeling of alcohol intoxication, and increases the risk of an alcohol overdose, which should be kept in mind when determining the alcohol dosage. The combination of a stimulant with alcohol also increases the risk for erratic behaviour while intoxicated compared to alcohol on its own due to the dual effect of disinhibition from alcohol with the increased energy and confidence from a stimulant. Although this may sound awesome, in its extreme form, this can result in events like gaining a reputation for getting too fucked up and wrecking peoples’ houses. Being disinhibited and confident may be part of the partying mindset, but only to a specific extent that results in behaviours more along the lines of opening up, letting your confidence shine, and making new friends, rather than biting peoples’ couches and pissing in the ashtray.  
For more information on how to more safely embark on this combo, consult Drug Combination and Poly Drug Use under Amphetamines+ Alcohol.
GHB: This is another example where being careful will not only prevent you from going to the hospital, but will only make you high as balls only within a very specific and moderate dosage range that also corresponds to the dosage range where harms are reduced. This combination can produce the subjective experience of a very powerful (and often pleasurable) body high where the body feels both light as a feather but also comfortably weighed down. If you feel extremely amazing, that means do not take any more G and/or 4-FA or you will end up in the hospital. If you are feeling high as balls, remember that more will not make you feel even higher than balls if you are tempted to redose, and just sit back and enjoy your high as it currently is and do not redose.
For more information about G dosing and the combination with amphetamines, consult Drug Combination and Poly Drug Use under GHB+ Amphetamine.  
Ketamine and its dissociative adulterants: With unadulterated ketamine, the risk of this combination mainly stems from the stimulant subjectively masking the dissociative effects of the ketamine, making it easier to inadvertently slip into a K hole. The combination of stimulation and dissociation is also often very panic inducing for people due to having so much energy within the void of a dissociative hole. This combination is generally only regarded to have agreeable subjective effects with light doses of either substance, with anything higher generally being very panicky. Combinations with RC dissociatives that may be sold as ketamine can become very dangerous, particularly with the PCP analogues- there is an extremely high risk for mania, psychosis, and adverse cardiovascular effects when PCP and its analogues are combined with simulants. Test before you ingest!


Opioids: Beware of the tendency for stimulants to subjectively mask the sedation from opioids despite the opioid still exerting its full physical effect. This makes it easier to slip into an OD. With Tramadol, there is a high risk of serotonin syndrome.
Presumably Physiologically benign (tentatively so due to 4-FA’s RC nature!), with a risk for an adverse subjective experience: Psychedelics: As of so far, there are no known reports of physically dangerous interaction with 4-FA in combination with classical psychedelics like LSD and mushrooms, but due to the stimulating effects of 4-FA, there is a high risk of psychedelic crisis. 4-FA does not work as an alternative for MDMA for candy flipping. With psychedelics of the substituted phenethylamine class that have a higher body load (such as the 2C-x drugs), physical safety with this combination is less assured. Beware of bunk acid that is actually 25i-NBOMe, which can be a lethal combination- test before you ingest!
Cannabis: As of so far, there have been no reports of physically dangerous interactions between 4-FA and cannabis, although the tendency for cannabis to enhance the effects of other drugs should be taken into consideration in regards to the subjective outcome of this combination.

Sober-friendly bars in Toronto

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.

Bars that meet this criteria will:

  1. Have mocktails listed on their menu
  2. Have a good selection of non-alcoholic beers, either in bottle or on draught
  3. Have an interesting alternative to classic bar beverages (e.g. kombucha on tap)
  4. Consistently respond positively to the “surprise me!” request for an off-menu mocktail

At the bottom, there’s a list of sober un-friendly bars, including testimonials from people who had an issue trying to order a non-alcoholic drink. This section may be useful for people in recovery who wish to avoid bars that have been known to be problematic.

If you have a bar to add to the list, a suggestion about the criteria, a correction, wish to vouch for a bar with an off-menu mocktail list, or have any other questions, please send a note to

Cheers! (pun intended)

*Bunz Helping, Dating, Sober zones on Facebook; Twitter

West end

The Ace

Great off-menu mocktails vouched for by: 1 person


Large selection of non-alcoholic beer

  • Beck’s Lager
  • Erdinger Alkoholfrei
  • Krombacher Hefeweizen
  • Krombacher Pilsner
  • Krombacher Radler  
  • Weihenstephaner Alkoholfrei Hefeweissbier


Kombucha on tap

Drake Hotel

Mocktail section called boozeless cocktails, carefully crafted with love

The Gaslight

Great off-menu mocktails vouched for by: 1 person

The Good Son

Great off-menu mocktails vouched for by: 1 person

The Lockhart

Mocktail section on menu


Extensive non-alcoholic drink list, called “drink menu for heroes” <3

East end

Dundas and Carlaw

Kombucha on tap

The Only

Bar on one side, a sweet cafe on the other, and you’re free to bring drinks to either side.


The Clocktower

From a NOW Toronto review, this place has a “a small but thoughtful list of non-alcoholic drinks.”

Bars that may be sober un-friendly

  • The Steady
    • “the bartender/owner (?) has been super condescending to me when i ask for drinks w/o alcohol.”
  • Black Cat Espresso Bar
    • “Bartender/owner would not serve a non-alcoholic drink for anything less than seven dollars (the price of a pint)”

  • Lucky Shrike
    • “I didn't get the friendliest response at Lucky Shrike when I asked if they had Red Bull (aka the unofficial bar drink of people in recovery haha)”

What To Do Instead of Calling the Police - Some Options

The below is some great info about what you can do instead of calling the police if calling the police doesn't feel safe. We still recommend calling 911 for an overdose or emergency situation if you feel safe to do so, and the Canadian Good Samaratin Law that was passed earlier in the year should help with a lot of fears, but not all. See an upcoming post about if the Good Samaritan Law protects you or not. 




What To Do Instead of Calling the Police

A Guide, A Syllabus, A Conversation, A Process

So, you understand that the police force in the U.S. upholds a system of racialized violence and white supremacy. You know that, when police get involved, black people, Latinx people, Native Americans, people of color, queer & trans people, sex workers, women, undocumented immigrants, and people living with disabilities and mental illness are usually in more danger, even if they are the victims of the crime being reported. You know that police violently escalate peaceful interactions and murder black people with impunity every single day in this country.

But, your neighbor is setting off fireworks at 3am, or there’s intimate partner violence happening outside your window, or you see someone hit their child in public… What do you do? What do you do instead of calling the police? How do you keep yourself safe without seeking protection from a system that is predicated upon the surveillance and extermination of others?

We start by shifting our perspective. We start by learning about the racist history of the police. We start by saying, an alternative to this system should exist. We start by pausing before we dial 911. We start by making different choices where we can. We start by getting to know our neighbors and asking them to be a part of this process.

As Taj James writes, “White friends and family, I think we are better off without the police. I think we might be safer, happier, healthier if there were no police. In addition to fewer Black people being killed by those police our life would be much better. I am starting to think we are better off without them. That we don't need them. That if we shut them all down today and transferred all the resources they control to communities to set up systems of community safety and accountability we would all be much happier. My gut is that when white people are able to say ‘Having no police is better than what we have now’ that will reflect the willingness and courage needed to make a fundamental transition from an old system to a new one.”

Below is an in-progress list of resources on alternatives to policing, which range from the theoretical to the practical.

An expanded document with synthesized best practices & case studies will be available by late fall 2016. Stay tuned!

If you’d like to add to or suggest a correction to this list, please email me (Aaron Rose) at aaronxrose at gmail dot com or alternativestopolice at gmail dot com. I'm currently taking responsibility for developing and managing this document, but if other people would like to help, or think I should be doing things differently, I'm happy to work with you and/or transfer ownership. [Edit: Thank you to everyone who has contributed and reached out so far. I’m responding to emails as quickly as I can!]


What To Do Instead of Calling the Police

A New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Call the Police (Truthout)

Alternatives to Policing (Justice in Policing)

Alternatives to Police (Rose City CopWatch)

Alternatives to the Police (McGill Daily)

Audre Lorde Project’s Safer Party Toolkit: How to run a safe party that doesn’t need police presence to maintain safety. (Español | Zine version) (some content is NYC-specific)

Big Dreams and Bold Steps Toward a Police-Free Future (Truthout)

Calling Someone Other than the Cops (The Atlantic)

Chain Reaction: Alternatives to Policing (

Creative Interventions Toolkit: An incredible organization created by Black and Asian feminists that interviewed people about what they did to intervene in partner abuse and sexual assault without the state. This is one of the things they created - a huge guidebook with tons of concrete examples, stories and tools for how folks have done this work.

Critical Resistance Abolitionist Toolkit

Imagine Alternatives: Finding Ways Not to Call the Police (Caroline Loomis): An open letter, a resource list, and some great exercises for stretching your imagination to consider why you call the police and how you might make different choices and build alternatives in the future.

INCITE!’s Stop Law Enforcement Toolkit

INCITE!’s Community Accountability Best Practices

Nashville Feminist Collective: Feminism in a Prison Nation: An amazing resource list examining carceral feminism, an approach to gender-based violence that sees the criminal legal system as the primary solution.

Policing is a Dirty Job and Nobody’s Gotta Do it: 6 Ideas for a Cop-Free World (Rolling Stone)

Stop Violence Everyday: Another project of Critical Interventions, lots of stories of folks intervening in partner abuse and sexual assault.

Ten Lessons for Creating Safety Without Police: A Reflection on 10 Years of the SOS Collective

The Revolution Starts At Home: A book co-authored by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinh, Ching In Chen, and Jai Dulani about abuse inside activist communities and how folks have dealt with it without the cops (was out of print, is now back in print).

Transformative Justice Resource List (

Vikki Law: Resisting Gender Violence Without Cops or Prisons

What To Do When Someone is Having a Mental Health Crisis on the Street (SF Bay Area specific)


Alternatives to Policing Projects / Organizations / Tools

Audre Lorde Project’s Safe Outside the System (SOS) seeks to empower community members to be proactive in preventing anti-LGBTQ violence, intervene when violent situations arise, and build stronger relationships between LGBTQ people of color, our allies and the community as a whole.

BYP100 Case Study in Community Accountability

CAHOOTS (Eugene, Oregon): “Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets provides mobile crisis intervention within the city limits of Eugene, dispatched through the Eugene police-fire-ambulance communications center. Each team consists of a medic (either a nurse or an EMT) & a crisis worker (who has at least several years experience in the mental health field). CAHOOTS provides immediate stabilization in case of urgent medical need or psychological crisis, assessment, information, referral, advocacy & (in some cases) transportation to the next step in treatment. Many, but not all, of our clients are homeless.”

Cure Violence stops the spread of violence in communities by using the methods and strategies associated with disease control – detecting and interrupting conflicts, identifying and treating the highest risk individuals, and changing social norms – resulting in reductions in violence of 40% to 70%. Note: this program is now state-sponsored, which some people feel undermines its efficacy and sustainability.

People’s Community Medics: An organization created by Black women in East Oakland that is a community controlled alternative and/or addition to calling 911 for emergency medical care. They created it after the ambulances were just not showing up or cops were showing up first.

Philly Stands Up: An organization that works with folks who have committed sexual assault or partner abuse who want to take accountability.  This is their document where they talk about how they work with perpetrators.

Richmond, CA Case Study


Apps for Coordinating Community Crisis Response (instead of calling the police)

Buoy (mobile & desktop app): A community-based crisis response system.

(developers’ chat room for troubleshooting set up | user-to-user support forum | github wiki | if you need additional help figuring out how to set up Buoy on your site, Maymay may be able to help:


Resources on Racism & The Police

Corinne Werder on the History of the Police

Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves On Race and Racism

What is Fentanyl/Carfentanil, and Why Should I Care?

You may have been hearing about fentanyl or carfentanil in the news lately, or hearing concern about 'super strong opioids'. Fentanyl and carfentanil are very potent drugs from the opioid family. They're sedatives and painkillers, and have been in fairly commonly used medically (usually for long-term pain management) since the early '90s. They have been used surgically for much longer but not particularly as well known.

Fentanyl and carfentanil can be very dangerous when not dosed properly, because a reasonable dose for someone without tolerance can be micrograms. That's 1000 times smaller than the amount of powder in an average capsule of MDMA.

Unfortunately, other non-opioid street drugs are now showing up across North America contaminated with these super strong opioids in varying amounts. Traditionally they would only show up as cuts in heroin or other opioids like fake oxys, but due to increased supply it has been found in cocaine, speed, meth and other drugs.   



Fentanyl white powder


Here are some ways you can help keep yourself safer:


  • Whenever you or a friend get a new batch of anything, try a tiny amount (like a quarter dose) and wait a couple hours before doing a proper dose. If you've had opioids medically or recreationally before, the feeling should be familiar if there's fentanyl in it. Effects often include a warm tingly buzz in the head, accompanied by a bit of nausea and pupils getting smaller. Some people get itchy as well, especially with larger amounts.


  • Because fentanyl is so potent, if it is mixed into a different drug and not mixed evenly, some parts could be safer/what you’re expecting while others could have enough fentanyl to cause an OD.

  • If you dissolve the drug in water (preferably distilled), you can ensure that any fentanyl or other strong opioid will be evenly distributed throughout the liquid.

  • For extra safety, use a syringe and needle to draw the liquid through a filter to remove any unwanted particulates before use.

  • ORALLY: You can then drink the liquid (after trying a tiny bit and waiting of course).

  • RAILING: You can snort the liquid and it will work even more efficiently than snorting powder with less damage to your nose tubes. Use a smaller amount of water if this is your plan.

  • INJECTING/HOOPING/PLUGGING: You're probably already doing these steps, so continue performing admirably and be sure to start with a SMALL AMOUNT.


  • Partying with friends is a great safe guard to a fatal OD. Ideally at least someone present will be able to call 911 and maybe even give you Naloxone and do CPR.

  • Make sure there are a few naloxone kits around just in case. These can be picked up from The Works at 277 Victoria St. (Yonge & Dundas) in Toronto or any pharmacy SHOULD have them available over the counter. Not everywhere has them right now and not everywhere does a good training on how to use them, but you should at least be able to access them.

  • Someone other than the person doing the drugs first should know how to use Naloxone kits too.

  • Naloxone is essentially an antidote for opioid overdose. When administered in sufficient amounts, it will stop an overdose long enough for medical professionals to arrive at the scene. This will run out after about 30-40 minutes, putting the person who OD’d at risk of ODing again so it’s super important that they go to a hospital!

  • When in doubt, it's better to administer naloxone, because it won't physically harm them even if they aren't on opioids.

  • If the person being given naloxone is dependent on opioids, it will put them into withdrawal which can be very unpleasant, but it's still worth it to save a life.

  • The Good Samaritan Law was just passed in Canada, which means that you can’t be arrested for drug-related charges after calling 911 for an OD. (You can still be arrested if you have warrents out and it’s still a good idea to stash any actual drugs or paraphernalia away before authorities show up).

A note on drug checking and testing kits:

  • There are a number of organizations currently working on street level strong opioid test kits, but outside of proper lab testing we don't have any highly reliable options available at the moment. When these become available they will provide an additional safeguard to help prevent accidental fentanyl consumption.

Written and edited by Trip! Project
Fentanyl poster created by Humber College students for the campaign 

A Partiers’ Guide to (Increasing) Internet Security - Part 1

“From now, know that every border you cross, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cell phone tower you pass, friend you keep, article you write, site you visit, subject line you type, and packet you route, is in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards are not.” - Edward Snowden

internet security


A Partiers’ Guide to (Increasing) Internet Security

Using drugs is risky business. Prohibition (drugs being illegal) makes it so that every step of the way from buying drugs, having drugs on you and even being high once you do them could land you in deep legal trouble.

Let’s talk about three important topics: drugs, security and the dance music community. In an ideal world these could all happily co-exist, yet in reality these three topics in our society don't get along too well. One of the most troublesome and obvious relations lies between drugs and security. People who use are treated differently in society via prohibition. As a result, their inherent human right to personal security is frequently and seriously threatened, if not entirely disregarded. Socially, these folks may be ostracized and dis-empowered, facing stigma on a daily basis; legally, they are under threat of persecution. Physically and emotionally, they are often victims of violence, trauma, medical neglect and an absence of adequate social supports, including harm reduction resources.

The use of illegal substances does not occur in a vacuum, it occurs within a broad context; Individuals from all walks of life use substances for reasons often complex and multifaceted. The right to individual privacy becomes substantially more complicated when we think to consider the the socio-economic implications of substance use and its impact on the hundreds of millions of people internationally who consume illegal drugs. As a result, a person who uses substances becomes most vulnerable when they speak to others about using and drugs.  

A recent report analyzed the stated privacy protocols of 43 common Canadian internet service providers (ISPs). The results uncovered that most service providers don't share much information  about what they do with your information.  "It appears that many Canadian internet carriers are in violation of their legal responsibilities" under Canadian privacy law, says the report entitled "Keeping Internet Users in the Know or in the Dark”.  "Generally speaking, most carriers in Canada … score quite poorly in terms of privacy transparency — an average of two out of 10 stars, which is fairly low,".

Thankfully, there are groups of activists who advocate for our right to cyber privacy. Since a Supreme Court ruling in 2014, Canadians have the right to be anonymous on the internet and police must obtain a warrant to uncover their identities.  A recent decision from the Supreme Court bans internet service providers from disclosing the names, addresses and phone numbers of their customers to law enforcement officials voluntarily in response to a simple request — something ISPs have been doing hundreds of thousands of times a year.  Law enforcement now require an appropriate warrant before they can access an individual’s private digital information. Yet this does not mean that service providers can’t willingly give law enforcement access to someone's private information without a warrant and currently, ISPs are notorious for sharing personal data of their customers!

Law enforcement agencies worldwide in recent years have been investing considerably in monitoring social media and other forms of electronic communication as a new investigative tool to search for clues and prevent or prosecute crime.  “Canadian police have adopted social media faster than most U.S. forces.”  For instance, “One man from the Greater Toronto Area, identified as Sunith Baheerathan on Twitter (@Sunith_DB8R), learned this the hard way on Tuesday when his tweet “Any dealers in Vaughan wanna make a 20sac chop? Come to Keele/Langstaff Mr. Lube, need a spliff” attracted the wrong kind of attention.This fellow thought it might be ok to tweet requests for pot but quickly learned that his actions put him at real risk of prosecution by law enforcement. It was a choice that put his security at risk. This example illustrates how a such a small mistake online could promptly get you in trouble with the law.  It’s important to understand that police officers can and do create false identities and profiles on social media websites to investigate and monitor individuals they may believe to be engaged in some form of illicit activity.

Facebook has recently filled a massive lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Agency of America for engaging in these covert operations.  Always be careful of anything you post on social media: photos from house parties with evidence of drug use in the background, images of controlled substances, pot, bongs, baggies, white powders, or large stacks of cash can be enough evidence for an officer to initiate an investigation into you. Anything uploaded to the internet is there for life.  This could also jeopardize future employment opportunities, employee screening often includes a review of social media accounts.  Modify your privacy settings to be as secure as possible so only trusted people can view your posts.

Do not talk openly about any illicit activity including drugs via unsecured electronic communication; law enforcement has the capability to intercept text messages, phone calls, emails and facebook messages.  Police will often lurk social media to find private house parties to raid. To deter this, you can make the event an invite only closed group and send the location to the party-goers personally. Before accepting new friend requests, you might want to ask where they know you from, and if in doubt you can message some of the people on their friends list to verify that in fact they are a real person. In some regions, undercover officers post social media or classified advertisement websites in an attempt to entrap people who use drugs by offering illicit substances for sale or using code words like, “I’ve got party favors”  “It’s snowing out who wants to go skiing” or “My friends tina, molly and gina are all here having a party! Anyone want to hangout with them”.  Entrapment is legal in some regions depending on the local laws.

Now, you may say, “Well, I’m not silly enough to head to twitter to buy my pot!” Good! However, there are always opportunities to make mistakes when it comes to security. Total security is unachievable, but with the right knowledge and tools, individual and group security levels can be increased significantly. So let's take a look at some of the tools available, and learn how to use them with security in mind!

 Part 2 coming soon! 

5 ways to stay warm at winter raves



Winter is here in full force but you’re still ready to get down. The party might be hot but outside is definitely not! Before you head out, here are a few things to think about:


Brrrrr! (photo by Constance Chan)

What’s the weather like?

Walking to a party through a snowstorm, like a dedicated partier, in your platform shoes may be the cheapest but not the best idea. Wet socks and soggy shoes aren’t very fun to dance in, plus you gotta watch for ice in those sky high shoes! Boots are best for this kinda weather but you can still dance in style if you pack some light sneakers or flats (and maybe an extra pair of socks) in your backpack. Even if it’s looking alright before you head out, check the weather to see what it will be like later on in the night or the next morning when you crawl back into the daylight.

What chu wearing?

Photo of the Santa Speedo Run by Jesse Milns.

If you're NOT wearing pants to the party (dress/skirt/bootyshorts/no pants style), it doesn’t mean you have to suffer the consequences. Wear a pair of warm sweatpants to the venue, then stuff ‘em in your coat sleeve for coat check or bring them in your bag for the trek home. It's a little easier to justify freezing your butt off when you're about to go into an awesome party if you don’t have far to go, but waiting for a ride back home afterwards or sitting around an after party in just your tutu can be less than stellar.

If you ARE wearing pants to the party, you may want to wear some PJs under your pants - you can always hit up a bathroom and shove them in your coat before you check it. It’s especially important if you’re wearing something like UFO’s (which are super thin, and not very warm in the winter) or phat pants (which can sometimes let cold gusts up, making you extra chilly).

Fun fur (like coats, fluffies, spirit hoods) can be pretty warm and a great way to make sure that you look good while staying cozy, whether you’re in or out of the party. Cotton actually isn’t great for wicking away moisture (like sweat), so make sure the layer closest to your bod is a synthetic material or a mix of synthetic and silk. That can mean a spandex/polyester blend tank top/muscle shirt or even a sports bra.

Where you going?

Partying outside can be super fun but let’s be real: it’s cold. If you’re partying at a freeze rave or any other kind of party exposed to the elements, bundle up! You might get warm dancing but resist the urge to peel back all your layers. Make sure to plan ahead and have your phone charged just in case things get intense (ie. snowpacalyse).

If you know you’ll be outside at a freetek or festival, emergency blankets are a lifesavers! You can get these tiny little foil blankets at any dollar store, they fit perfectly into any fanny pack or hip pouch and they can fit two people, huddled for warmth. You can also pick up single use hand warmers that you can put in your shoes or mittens.  

blue snowflake pill from EcstasyData.orgWhen are you dropping?

Pre-partying is awesome, but if you’re using before the party, wear a few extra layers so you won’t be chilly if it hits you while you’re in line. Some substances, like MDMA can throw off how you gauge your own body temperature and leave you extra vulnerable to the cold. You might feel super sweaty and like you don't even need a coat when you’re rolling but the extreme cold can be a shock to your bod! Hat, scarf and mitts are a must. Even wearing a few layers of tights with your dress/skirt/no pants outfit are great for staying warm in line and just taking off when you make it inside.   


How you getting home?

Don't forget to bring money for coat check, and save some cash for a cab or for public transit. Check
out our blog on getting home safer & have a plan. Whether it’s catching an uber or the TTC, make sure you have options so you and your friends don’t drive under the influence. Walking home while trashed can be pretty easy in warmer weather but not such a good call when it’s below freezing. Even if you’re not feeling the cold because of your buzz, your body sure can. Figure out if there’s a friend’s place close by where you can crash before you go out so you can end your night snuggled up with some hot cocoa to celebrate being the safest partier on the block.


Volunteer with the Trip! Project!

Trip! booth at VELD2015

The Trip! Project volunteer training involves a 10-week training course every spring & fall which features workshops on various topics related to harm reduction, HIV prevention, sexual health and safer partying. You do not need to be knowledgeable about all of these topics already - this is a learning opportunity as well as a knowledge sharing one! 

To be eligible for our volunteer program you must:

  • be between the ages of 14-29 (if you are under 16 you must have guardian permission)
  • currently or previously connected to a party scene in Toronto, from raves to house parties to shows, festivals, after hours and everything in between!
  • be able to attend all trainings (all of which occur at Bathurst & Queen on Wednesday evenings, 5-8pm)
  • jive with our harm reduction philosophy
  • have a fun and open attitude, a willingness to learn, and be able to contribute time and energy to the project on a regular basis

PrEP, PEP, HIV, And Undetectable Status

What Is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a type of retrovirus that attacks the immune system. After a period of time without treatment, the infected individual’s immune system becomes compromised and susceptible to opportunistic infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer and eventually AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV can be transmitted through:

  • sexual contact with an infected partner
  • exposure to infected body fluids such as blood through sharing injection drug tools and tattoo or piercing equipment
  • or from mother to child
With advances in the treatment for HIV, most folks who are HIV-positive live a long and healthy life rivaling that of someone who is HIV-negative.  

HIV infographic CATIE

HIV Prevention Methods

Reduce the risk of transmitting HIV by:


  • using condoms, 
  • getting tested (we have anonymous rapid testing at Queen West CHC (168 Bathurst St.) - get in touch for more info or drop in!), 
  • using only clean injection supplies
  • engaging in low risk sexual activity

Undetectable Viral Load

Viral load is the number of copies of the HIV virus present in a person’s blood, When someone tests HIV-positive, they get tested regularly by their doctor to determine what their “viral load” is. It is an important marker that indicates how well the medication they are taking is suppressing the virus. An “undetectable viral load” is when the amount of virus particles in the blood becomes so low that it can no longer be detected. When the virus is suppressed by medication well enough that the person has an undetectable viral load, HIV no longer exerts many of its damaging effects on the body and frequently the immune system begins to recover. To get their viral load to undetectable it is important to take antiviral medication every day as prescribed.


How is this important to a person who is HIV negative? In recent years, a number of medical studies have shown that when someone with HIV takes antiviral medication as prescribed and maintains an undetectable viral load that their risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV negative partner through sex is so low that it is almost eliminated. It is important to keep in mind that with even a small break in taking antiviral medication an HIV positive person’s viral load can rise again raising their risk of transmitting HIV to a partner. Its also important to note that even if someone has an undetectable viral load they can still contract and transmit other STIs.



PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is a treatment to prevent HIV infection in a person who may have been recently exposed to the virus (the Plan B of HIV prevention). If you think you have been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex, sharing equipment while injecting drugs or sexual assault PEP can help to significantly reduce your risk of getting HIV. PEP involves taking antiretroviral medications as soon as possible, and within a max of 72 hours from the exposure. To access PEP, go to the emergency room of your nearest hospital. If you have experienced sexual assault you will not be forced to report the incident to the police if you do not want to. In many places health plans do not cover PEP but staff at the emergency room or a sexual health clinic can help you find ways to access it.


“PrEP” stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is a way for people who don’t have HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a daily pill. If you take PrEP and are exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body. PrEP is recommended for use by folks who are HIV negative and at high risk for HIV infection. PrEP is not meant to replace condoms, but to be incorporated into a safer sex practice that includes condoms because it is not 100% effective and does not prevent other STIs.


Rapid, Anonymous HIV Testing Looking to get tested? You can get an anonymous, rapid HIV test by pro harm reduction staff at Queen West Community Health Centre (168 Bathurst St.) where we're housed. It takes about 20 minutes, or you can get the standard HIV test done which takes about 2 weeks (but we like the rapid test because then you don't have to wonder about the result.)

Tips for Getting Home Safer



#1 Share your plan with friends or family!

#2 Keep a cell phone on hand or be aware of where you could go to get help if you need it.

#3 Have a backup plan.


Like with partying in general, travel with people who have your back! If you’re travelling alone, let people know where you’re headed, when you expect to be there and how they can reach you.


Taking the TTC

Buses, Streetcars and Subways 


- Check routes in advance as some might not be 24hrs. Check in advance for stop closures or construction that might affect your plans. 

- A TTC day pass can be used by two adults for unlimited travel on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays, until 5:30 am the next day. (When it’s not a weekend, day passes are good for one adult).



You can use the Request Stop program when travelling alone by bus between 9:00pm and 5:00am. Request Stop allows folks feeling vulnerable to get off the bus between regular TTC stops.

  • Ask at least one TTC stop ahead of where you want to get off. The driver may not be able to stop if there’s construction or something, but generally they’re cool.
  • Exit the bus via the front doors, the rear doors will remain closed.

Take Care When Walking to or from a TTC Stop

  • Walk with confidence and be alert to your surroundings.

  • Avoid taking shortcuts or walking in dark areas.

  • Be aware of places where you can get help if you need it, like open stores, restaurants, and public telephones.

Prevent Pickpocketing

  • Remain alert. Crowded places like bus stops, buses and subways are prime spots for pickpockets.

  • Be aware of loud arguments or people bumping into you - They may be staged to distract you while a thief lifts your wallet or bag.

  • Carry only what you need. Avoid carrying unnecessary cash, credit cards and other valuables.

  • Carry your valuables like your phone/wallet  in a place other than your back pants pocket or outermost bag pocket

  • If you have a bag be sure to carry it in front of you and close to your body with your hand over the closure.

Taking A Taxi? You’ve got rights!


The new Taxicab Bill of Rights combines the rights of passengers with the rights of drivers. It will be posted in all taxicabs, outlining the reasons why cabs can refuse a fare, along with a QR scan code that will help you easily file a compliment or complaint.  

Consider keeping a phone or pen and paper handy to write down taxi license number and company name. Be quick! They can take off in a flash.

Your driver is a professional who is licensed by the City of Toronto and must:

  • be courteous and provide you with assistance

  • know the major routes and destinations in Toronto

  • speak and understand English

  • offer a silent ride if requested

  • provide a receipt noting the date and time of the distance travelled, the taxicab licence  and the fare charged

  • not recommend hotels or restaurants, unless requested

The taxicab must be:

  • equipped with an in-car camera that can be downloaded by police in the event of a crime

  • a smoke free environment

  • in a good mechanical and physical condition equipped with easily accessible seat belts, which you are responsible for wearing

  • clean in the passenger area and the trunk

  • heated or air-conditioned on demand.

As the passenger, you:

  • may direct your driver on the route to be taken

  • have the right to a free ride if the meter is not in a recording position

  • must pay your fare and any authorized charges or fees

Where can I make a complaint about a cab?

You can file a complaint about your cab ride (condition of the vehicle, driver behaviour, use of cell phone, route taken or fare) by calling 416-392-3082 or emailing

I only want to go a short distance. Can a taxicab driver refuse to pick me up?

No. A taxi driver cannot refuse a fare based on a short distance. If you can, get in the backseat, close the door, put your seatbelt on (if we’re giving safety tips :P) and THEN tell the driver where you’re going. If the door’s locked, tell them you’re going somewhere farther away than you are, then “realize” you’re actually only going to your real destination. (Only do this with a metered taxi, not a flat rate).

Hailing a cab - why can a taxicab driver refuse to pick me up?

There are six reasons why a taxicab driver can refuse to pick you up. They are:

  1. You owe the driver a fare from a previous unpaid trip

  2. You do not disclose your final destination

  3. You ask to be driven to a remote area that the driver deems unsafe

  4. You are unduly obnoxious or abusive

  5. You smoke in the taxicab

  6. You refuse to pay the estimated fare in advance of the trip (up to $25)

Puking in a cab?  You could pay for It.

Taxicab drivers can charge a $25 cleaning fee if a passenger soils the taxicab.


Drivers will also be permitted to request that passengers pay the estimated fare before starting the trip (to a maximum of $25).

Taxi reform - pre-payment could lead to further discrimination, there is concern that some people will be asked to pre-pay based on their appearance. Pre-payment is meant to help cut back on the number of people who leave taxi’s without paying but it’s up to the discretion of the driver to decide who will be required to pay in advance and how much.

Driving or Catching a Ride

  • Make sure your driver is sober and awake enough to drive. Consider keeping a few supplies like bags, napkins and water in the car in case a passenger feels sick on the way.

  • Keep a charged cell phone with you in case of emergencies.

  • Lock the car doors to prevent theft and be aware of your surroundings in dark or deserted parking lots.

  • Careful of where you park, especially downtown. Overnight parking is prohibited on most downtown streets and even more locations in the winter (for snow ploughs).

  • Avoid parking near a fire hydrant or on private property to avoid overnight parking fees, parking tickets or towing charges.

Driving home may seem like a good choice but you take drugs to affect your body and/or mind - do you really think you’ll drive like you’re sober? Driving high has been on the rise amongst teen drivers, becoming just as common as driving drunk. There is significant risk of injury to yourself or others when driving impaired so consider alternatives to driving yourself home.

GTA Designated Drivers offers a service year round where at a rate of $85 up to 20km then an additional $3 per km two licensed and insured drivers will pick you up and drive you and your car home.

some apps that might be useful:





Gata Labs

You can also text the number at TTC bus & streetcar stops to see when the next one will arrive.


ttc    ttc number


You can input the numbers into your phone before getting inside and texting before leaving minimizing the amount of time spent waiting outside alone/in the cold.

With these tips in mind we wish you safe travels!

Links/Articles this blog post draws information from:

Drug Impaired Driving

Taxi Info Source - City of Toronto Website:

Taxi Reform - Pre-Payment could lead to further discrimination:


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