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Bust at the Zone

During a 'routine sweep' Police raided the afterhours club, the Comfort
Zone, early Sunday morning arresting over 100 people, but releasing
around 75% of them. Most of those charged, were charged for possession
of illegal drugs including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and GHB
with a value of $30,000. About $35, 000 cash was also siezed.

 

Read the National Post article for full info.

The Story of Mr. A, who took 25 tabs of E a day...

e pillz

Unbelievable! But according to doctors of the addiction centre at St. George Medical School in London, England it's true. Between the ages of 21 and 30 the patient only known as Mr. A is thought to have taken approximately 40 000 Ecstasy pills (Times Online). Over the course of his use he gradually increased his dosage from 5 on the weekends to 25 a day.

His psychiatrist, Dr. Christos Kouimtsidis reports that Mr. A has trouble functioning in everyday life and is afflicted by "severe short-term memory problems, hallucinations, paranoia and muscle rigidity". And yet the man is still alive.

This certainly tells us something about the supposedly 'Killer Ecstasy'. It would seem that our leaders have been a a but on the hysterical side while demonizing E, a drug that is statistically less deadly than aspirin.

Richard Burnstrom, the Chief of Police for North Wales, has publicly stated that very fact - Ecstasy is a remarkable safe drug, safer than aspirin and far safer than tobacco and alcohol. He has also predicted that the legalization of all drugs in Britain will be inevitable within 10 years time because prohibition doesn't work.

You can read Chief Burnstrom's statements in more detail here.

TRIP! Unveils Two New Flyers: Safer K-Holes and Responsible Drug Use

Hot off the presses! The TRIP! Project has just released
two new pieces of harm reduction literature for the partyers of Toronto.

'Safer K-Holes' describes what a k-hole is and what to
do in case of an emergency. It also contains tips on how to stay as
safe as possible while k-holing and general tips on safer ketamine use.

'Responsible Drug Use' is an important addition to
TRIP's library. It flows through a series of thought-provoking
questions that every drug user should periodically ask themselves. It
asks us to check ourselves to see if trouble is brewing and if our life
goals are coinciding with the nature of our drug use. After all, we
should be in control of our drug use rather than our drug use controlling us.

Look for both these flyers at a TRIP! booth near you or
stop by our offices in the Queen West Community Health Centre at 168
Bathurst St. between Noon-5pm Tue/Wed/Fri to get some copies.

 

We're Recruiting New Volunteers!

 

 

Know a lot about safer partying? Want to learn? Want to educate others and volunteer at parties? Get involved with TRIP!

The TRIP! volunteer training involves a 5-day training course (spread
across 5 consecutive Saturdays, 11am-6pm) and which features
workshops on various topics related to harm reduction, HIV prevention,
and safer partying. These trainings are offered twice a year.

To be eligible for our volunteer program you must:

  • be between the ages of 16-30
  • be a former or current participant in Toronto's dance music scene
  • be able to attend all trainings (all of which occur in downtown Toronto)
  • 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


To indicate your interest in being trained, contact TRIP! by calling 416-703-8482x125, emailing info@tripproject.ca!

The Return of Safer Snorting

Safer SnortingWe're proud to announce the return of our much-loved 'Safer Snorting' booklets - complete with personal snorting device!  This booklet was initially released in 2003 and met with huge success and all-round positivity by community members.  The Safer Snorting booklet identifies the health risks associated with sharing straws and rolled-up bills when snorting drug -- with a particular focus on Hepatitis C transmission.  We're all stocked up with 10, 000 of the puppies so next time you're at a party be sure to swing by the TRIP! booth and pick one up!

TRIPping at WEMF 2007!

TRIP! outreach workers and volunteers went to the World Electronic Music Festival (WEMF) last weekend and have finally recovered along with the other 5000 attendees! Well, almost recovered.

A good thousand people visited us at the TRIP! booth this year, most of which wanting to grab our popular ‘drug eyes’ poster and pocket a handful of condoms.

Many of the booth visitors wondered about having pill testing available, with one offering to leave his testing kit with us for the weekend! As TRIP cannot do pill testing, we encouraged him to continue testing his and his friends pills at his campsite, but to be careful of security walking around the site.

GHB made its presence quite known to the partiers and medics this year, with a number of people finding themselves waking up in the sawdust-filled medic building. There was even talk of a ‘wemf fad’ involving heart-monitor marks and stickers due to the sheer number of those walking around the festival with them.

The medics were careful not to kick anyone out of WEMF this year, nor let security know too many details of any overdoses to avoid the removal or arrests for seeking some refuge and medical attention. While some people may have benefited from a night (or afternoon or morning) away from the WEMF binge, no one wants to be afraid to go to the medics for help. Way to go Adam and crew!

Aside from the confiscated needle exchange supplies, the WEMF security treated us TRIPpers with a lot of respect and many of them came into the booth to personally thank us for what we are doing for the event.

Welland, ON was apparently thrilled at the festival livening up their city, perhaps due to the estimated $1 million put into their shops, restaurants and recreation facilities. Kevin wrote a review on Torontoist!

Harvard Professor Lester Grinspoon blasts Chair of Drug Abuse Committee on CBC

Today on CBC Radio News Harvard Professor Lester Grinspoon took on drug policy conservative Barry McKnight.  McKnight claims that higher concentrations of THC in pot are creating criminals and crippling Canadian youth.  Grinspoon took on this falacy by presenting the point that stronger drugs mean that users will moderate their use.  Grinspoon challenged the reclassification of marijuana as a Level 1 sustaince by stating that when US drug companies created the synthetic canaboid pill called Marinol they had it classified at Level 2, so that it could be perscribed by phsyicians.  If a synthetic drug that is classified at Level 2 has 100% levels of THC it does not make sense to classify a substance that is of a lesser concentration at Level 1. Humbled, McKnight thanked Grinspoon for his research stating that "families need information" about these harmful substances.  Grinspoon responded wittily that families need correct information, not hyped up propaganda.  Youth need correct information about marijuana, a substance that is signifigantly less toxic than alcohol, so that they can consume it in a responsible manner. 

Maybe we should be calling Professor Grinspoon to see if he'd be interested in making an anonymous donation?  One thing is for sure, it is questionable whether the Conservative government's $64-million anti-drug stratagy will find it's way to funding harm reduction initiatives like TRIP.  "They haven't explicitly said they are getting rid of harm reduction, but the budget numbers speak for themselves," said Leon Mar, spokesman for the Canadian HIV-AIDS Legal Network. "There is no money for harm reduction, which is quite ominous for what will be."  Canada is known around the world for its inovative harm reduction programs.  The next thing you know, Harper is going to start spending money on silver rings and distributing them around high schools.  Just don't be suprised if teen pregnancy and drug overdoses go up!

The (Re)Criminalization of Marijuana

According to TRIP surveys, Marijuana is one of the most popular drugs at parties.  In Canadian society Marijuana very accepted, often smoked outside on the streets with bravo.  In 2003 Toronto police chief Julian Fantino made a public statement that police would not arrest users with less than 30 grams on them.  Jean Chretien was pushing bills through that would decriminalize cannabis, but then he left office and things fell apart.  That bill has yet to be passed, yet Canadian youth are under the impression that marijuana is still legal.  With Stephen Harper in power, the police are not as forgiving and there has been a recent spike in pot arrests. 

Marijuana remains illegal and Canada, yet youth are smoking it more boldly than ever.  "You'd have a youth smoking a joint out on the street without any fear
of being caught," said Toronto police Detective Doug McCutcheon.  In 2006 Canada's main cities reported a rise between 20-50% in marijuana arrests.  This spike in criminalization is starkly related to the rise of conservative politics in Canadian society.  With Harper in power we're not going to see marijuana legalized any time soon.  On top of that we have folks like the Globe and Mail's Margaret Wente spreading rumors that marijuana is the new crack.  According to Wente, "The vast majority of the marijuana inhaled today is not the mellow weed you and I remember from our youth. It is many times more powerful. In
fact, the United Nations now classifies Canadian-grown marijuana as a
hard drug whose destructive power puts it in the same league as cocaine." Herbert Schaepe, secretary to the UN International Narcotics Control Board is a stanch opponent of harm reduction and has scolded Canada many times for not cracking down on seed distribution and pot users.  Blogger  Cliff Almas from Calgary Alberta breaks down the myths for us:

Contrary to popular myth, greater potency is not necessarily more dangerous, due to the fact that users tend to adjust (or "self-titrate") their dose according to potency. Thus, good quality sinsemilla is actually healthier for the lungs because it reduces the amount of smoke one needs to inhale to get high.

 The stronger concentration of THC, the less we have to smoke to get high.  This means lower cancer risk and healthier lungs.  Ms. Wente tells us that stronger pot is hurting Toronto's marginalized youth.  I would say that increasing incarceration rates of pot users is hurting marginalized youth even more, increasing the amount of youth of colour who populate our courts system.  

"Social networking for druggies"

Well, we all knew it has been happening all along in our own communities, but a recent study by Nielsen BuzzMetrics has discovered that teens are using social networking sites to swap tips online about drug use.  The new study reports that around 1.6 per cent of youth are using the internet to find information on drugs. Of this percentile, 11% are trading tips on how to use drugs safetly. 

Personally I'm suprised by this study.  I would think that more youth would be online researching drugs. Although many youth are sheltered to a certain extent, I would say that the majority of teens must know atleast one peer who is using drugs, and alchohol.  In a 2003 study done by CAHM discovered that of their sample, one-in-ten teens are engaged in drinking and drug consumption.  There is a huge gap in these numbers, and although the studies are 4 years apart, it pays testiment to the increase of online outreach that has to happen to fill this gap.  If the concern is about youth swapping incorrect information, then it is up to the health service providers to addopt these grassroots means of distributing information to get our message out. 

That's why TRIP is here.  Much like the youth who are online swapping tips, we swapped tips amongst our communities until it formed into a solid entity.  Grassroots community info swapping has not only happened in the clubs, but also on community message boards like Hullabaloo, PureRave, and Tribe.  Even some of the early BBSs were focused on drug use. Youth have been using the internet since its advent to share information on drugs, and it is this open principle of information sharing that infuses the spirit of TRIP.  Let this tradition continue.  Remember, we always welcome your participation.  Don't be afraid to join up, post comments, or start up some threads on our messageboards.  Only together can we keep our communities safe! 

TRIP's Guide to Safer Summer Festivals

Spending time in the wild and communing with the splendour and magnificence of our planet in its natural state can deliver massive rewards. By simply leaving our realms of metropolitan madness we relieve our minds, bodies and senses of the urban assault. Combine that relief with great people, art and booty-shaking music and you’ve got yourself the makings of a mind-blowing time. But the forest has its hazards too and camping must be done in an intelligent way with knowledge and insight. Luckily there are rules and tactics for keeping us safe...

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