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Providing health info to Toronto party people since 1995!

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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Did a line?  Don't think you're fine?  Need to enquire?  Just text the TRIP!wire (647) 822-6435

Email info@tripproject.ca to buy a testing kit!

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 ash.mogg@gmail.com.


Cheers! (pun intended)

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

West end


The Ace

Great off-menu mocktails vouched for by: 1 person


Biermarkt

Large selection of non-alcoholic beer

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

Burdock

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


Nightowl

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.


Central

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. 

 

 

TAKEN FROM AN ONLINE COLLABORATIVE GOOGLE DOC

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 (WeChargeGenocide.org)


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 (USPrisonCulture.com)


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: https://maymay.net/)



 


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:


START SMALL!

  • 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.


FILTER AND DISSOLVE!

  • 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.


KEEP CALM AND CARRY NALOXONE! (Also: PARTY WITH A FRIEND!)

  • 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 ZeroHarm.ca 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

Apply here!   

   

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.

PrEP

PEP

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

“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

buddy 

 

#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!

taxi 

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 licenf@toronto.ca


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.


Pre-Paying

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:

Uber

HailO

BeMyDD

KiteString

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
http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1431978/drug-impaired-driving-a-fatal-issue-for-canadian-teens


Taxi Info Source - City of Toronto Website:

http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=dc1f72a9f9186410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=69b5a83b82870410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD


http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/ls/bgrd/backgroundfile-55425.pdf


Taxi Reform - Pre-Payment could lead to further discrimination:
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/02/20/taxi_prepayment_could_lead_to_discrimination_critics_fear.html


 

Cutting Back

cutting back

Some people swear by the 12 step program and abstinence in general. That might work for some folks but as we know, it definitely doesn’t work for everyone. When you notice your use is getting out of hand, what can you do? What happens when the party is fun, but just doesn’t stop, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, all of sudden it’s out of control? Addiction is a complicated thing. For the purposes of this post, we’ll just be talking about harm reduction tips (things you can do right now, without stopping use entirely) for when you or someone you love’s drug use seems to be getting the best of them.


For more support around dealing with addiction in Toronto, hit up Breakaway Addictions, YMCA or East Metro Youth Services.


Educate Yourself


Before you decide to use any substance, it’s super helpful to educate yourself as much as possible. This can mean learning about the effects, risks, dangers, dosage, duration of effect, after effects, overdose potential, and addiction potential. At the Trip! Project we provide literature with this sort of information. You can also check out websites like dancesafe.org or erowid.com and bluelight.ru to ask questions and find info.


All recreational drugs have potential effects that could be desirable or not - it’s important to be prepared for both. We all take risks every day. Taking any drug is definitely a risk, so try to prepare yourself for possible outcomes. This could mean eating a good meal before you party, choosing spaces to use in where you feel safe, taking vitamins, bringing water with you, getting a good night’s sleep, checking in with yourself about where your head’s at or testing your substance. All these factors can impact your experience, along with the risks that come with specific drugs. Putting the prep time in also puts you in a better headspace to make the choices that are best for you.  


Setting Boundaries and Limits


Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself before you party:


What drugs do you feel are okay for you?

How often do you plan on using this drug?

How much are you comfortable with using at a time?

How much money are you going to be spending on it?

When do you plan on using it?

Have you set time aside for the hangover or after effects?

Where do you plan on using it and where will you be while you’re high?

Who do you feel comfortable using drugs with?

Are you okay with having sex while you are high?

What routes of administration (railing/injecting/popping a cap/etc) are you okay with using?


These are all questions you should make a habit of asking yourself if you're a person who chooses to use drugs. Paying attention to these questions every time you use can help you sort out where your own personal limits are and stay within them. Reminding yourself of these limits can help you stay in control!


Getting Back on Track


Uh-oh, those questions fell to the wayside and now you feel you’ve been partying too hard, too much. Here are some tips on how to reestablish some of those limits:


Buy less so you do less.

It’s cheaper to buy drugs in bulk but you might end up doing more just because it’s there, which makes it cost more when you don’t save them.


Let someone hold it for you.

Even if you buy the same amount, you can parcel off an amount you’re okay having and pass the rest to a trusted friend to hold for you. You could even invite a trusted person over and get them to hide your stash in your room, so it’s definitely safe but you don’t have easy access to it. Let them know a date when they can give it back to you or tell you where you put it.


Take Breaks.

Bump ketamine every weekend, all weekend? Pop a molly every time you leave the house? Not sure if its a problem? Than take a break for a month or few. If you are using drugs on a regular basis and think you can stop whenever you want, but you don't want to, how do you know for sure? Even not wanting to stop can be a sign of a developing addiction. If you notice a cycle it could mean that it’s time to take a break to test yourself. Plan a drug free day, weekend, week or month and see how it feels. Spend time with friends who don’t party to stay busy.


Set a limit and party within it.

Decide at the beginning of the night how much you want to do and stick to it. Tell your friends you’re good to go with what you have and that you won’t be taking them up on any generous offers. Only bring what you decided to do and when that’s gone, that’s it. You can also try lowering your dose. This could mean doing less or swapping substances (ie beers instead of vodka).


Wait until you’re sober to get high again.

Find yourself redosing before you’re sober again? And the cycle continuing way past your expected end time? Try doing something then waiting until you’re actually sober before doing another hit or even taking another drink. Decide in a sober mindset if you want to keep the party going.


Learn your family history.

If someone in your family has dealt with addiction, you’re at a heightened risk for following their path. Get a sense of where you’re coming from. Everyone deals with their use differently and just because it runs in your family, doesn’t mean you’ll inevitably have the same issues. You choose your own adventure and can absolutely take steps to control your use.


Avoid using recreational drugs for self medication.

Recreational drugs are best used for just that, recreation. Although it can be tempting to use recreational drugs to lift you up if you are feeling depressed, or chill you out if you're stressed, using to self medicate is often a slippery slope and can quickly lead to an addictive cycle. Most recreational drugs are not beneficial at all when it comes to long term regular use, and

you may find farther down the road that the symptoms you’ve been masking have been made worse by the drug or have grown because you have failed to address the problem you’re facing. 

 

If you think that there’s something going on with you emotionally or mentally that you can't deal with instead of using drugs to mask your problem reach out for help, talk to your doctor, speak with a counsellor, make an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist, talk to a peer you trust, or speak with someone who works at Trip!. You are not alone and help is out there!

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