Submitted by admin on Thu, 12/15/2011 - 00:17.
to a bar or hitting a club can be an adventure some nights. The beer we have at
a friends place before heading out becomes eight drinks, the bouncer who was
looking at you funny when you walked in the door suddenly has a problem with
your presence. At moments it can seem like all this has happened before, and
that's because it has. TRIP! in conjunction with the Toronto Safer Nightlife
Committee, have released the results of the Toronto SaferNightlife Survey.
scoured bars, clubs and party goers for the information of 334 participants
over the year of 2010, ranging from as
far north as Newmarket and as far south as Hamilton, polling them about their
habits when they go to a bar or club. The range of questions included: Do they
pre-drink or just hit the bar, do they drink water before, during, or after?
What goes wrong most often, and what do the bars (in the average users humble
opinion) need to change?
of the big trends noticed was the number of people pre-drinking. More and more
this habit has become popular, being just what it sounds like: pre-drinking
means having a couple of drinks at home before heading out to the bar. 90% of people polled said they had at least
one or two drinks beforehand, while half of the pre-drinkers reported they had
three to five drinks before heading out. A fifth reported having between 5-10
drinks, and smaller percentages reporting upwards of 10. The major reason for
pre-drinking in the survey was apparently to save money. Pre-bar socializing
came a close second reason.
when one arrives to the pub, there can come a time when they think to
themselves, “Maybe I shouldn't have had that tenth shot of tequila.” How do the
others, as a group, know when to refuse drinks, if they are just as drunk?
According to the polls, 62% of participants “knew” when they “felt drunk
enough” to stop themselves, and their friends, from reaching to the point some
like to call, “heading to your happy place”. 36% of the participants in the
polls seemed braver, though, and stopped drinking as soon as they felt ill
(which is probably the preferable thing to do). Lastly, a stalwart 32% of
individuals only ceased drinking when the bar issued last call.
most youth in the GTA take one step further than drinking alcohol when they
have a night out with friends. 80% of participants in the survey reported
illicit drug use while in a bar or club. Of those people, 88% are more likely
to be men who get high at the bar, versus 74% of women. A substantial amount of
youth is following this trend of illicit drug use, with 76% being under
eighteen. The substances that are most likely to be used are amphetamine-type
substances, such as meth and MDMA/ecstasy; and hallucinogen-type substances,
such as ketamine, or cannabis.
course, when one spends a night out with friends, it is common to wonder what
must be thinking. Well, apparently, 57% of individuals polled are mindful of
local residents, while 27% are only mindful in relation to how drunk they were.
A smaller group reported that they did not see entertainment districts as
residential, so were not mindful at all. The results between youth from Toronto
and youth from outside the city are identical, which might be surprising to
asking what the biggest problems usually were, a few common headaches became
of the polled participants gave personal problems with injury, loss of personal
items, and illness as their top three answers. Two interesting facts also
arose: Firstly, frequent pre-drinkers were more likely to report harms and
injuries. Also, those under eighteen, and those over thirty, had
the lowest percentage of substance overdose or alcohol poisoning.
lesson taken away from this survey seems to be that if you go out clubbing or
just out to a bar is that if you pre-drink, be careful of how much you have
before heading out and keep track of yourself
and your belongings as the night goes on. Easy ways to help this are to
drink water between rounds, have a drinking buddy to check in with every so
often, and as always, know your mind, know your body, and know your source (or
in this case, your bar).
Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/10/2011 - 21:29.
Welcome to the Mixmag Drugs Survey 2012 in partnership with the Guardian. This year we hope to produce the biggest - and first truly global - survey of drug use amongst young people, clubbers and the wider drug using population ever conducted. It takes about 10-20 minutes to fill in, is completely anonymous and by being part of it, you could help change the world.
That's because the Mixmag / Guardian Drugs survey is where the world goes to find out real peoples' attitudes to and experience of drugs, and the medical, social and law enforcement consequences of drug use. The survey has been used by doctors, academics, and even governments across the planet to understand drug trends, to influence policy and to inform their decisions.
The analysis is performed by a team of doctors and scientists, using the highest professional research standards, to get to the real truth about drugs.
The results of this survey will be published in the April 2012 issue of Mixmag, at mixmag.net, and in the Guardian's UK [http://www.guardian.co.uk] and US [ http://www.guardiannews.com ] online editions.
For any questions please contact Dr Adam R Winstock at email@example.com.
Submitted by admin on Mon, 12/05/2011 - 17:52.
Over the years, TRIP! has actively kept track of drug trends in the Toronto dance music community. TRIP! volunteers from SEED Alternative School are keeping up this trend with their community-based survey for their course 'Challenge and Change in a Diverse Society'. The purpose of this survey is to find out what your stance on harm reduction is. We also hope to collect data on whether you think it would benefit Torontonians (and society in general) in making better choices while partying and in turn, helping them become healthier individuals with productive lifestyles. They would really appreciated it if you would help them with their study of youth and harm reduction. Check out the survey by clicking the links below, and read up more on harm reduction below!
PART 1: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TD6F532
PART 2: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RP6TCYD
PART 3: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TD2ZJG8
Note: Links to parts 2 and 3 are contained in the survey.
Recreational drug use has become a common source of entertainment and enjoyment here in Toronto. From drugs like alcohol and tobacco to drugs like ecstasy and heroin. Unfortunately, most health campaigns geared at youth are fear-based and speak only of abstinence with captions like “Just say no”. What the promoters of these campaigns fail to recognize is that people are curious and many will use drugs either way. Instead of this abstinence-only approach, information should be provided to encourage those who choose to use drugs to use them in a safer manner, thus reducing harm.
“Harm reduction” is the term used to describe the practice of spreading techniques and information with the purpose of improving quality of life and reducing chance of injury. Accidental deaths from motor vehicle accidents make up 32% of deaths in Canada in 2004 (Stats Canada). However, you don’t see campaigns that say “Just say no” regarding driving. Instead, there is a law in Ontario that says you must wear a seat belt when in a personal, motorized vehicle - this is a form of harm reduction.
Like the car drivers, youth are going to use drugs regardless whether society shakes a finger at them or not. Health education should be focusing on actually educating, rather than trying to scare people into stopping. We should be educating youth about the risks associated with drug use and try to empower them to use critical thinking and make informed decisions that will better their mind and body. The main goal of harm reduction is to lower risk levels of current drug users, as well as getting these individuals familiarized with health care services (including recovery upon request). Harm reduction education can also minimize drug misuse/abuse within society, improving over health in our communities. At the end of the day, you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped and labelling people as “addicts” and “junkies” does not help the situation. When people are sharing needles, straws, and pipes the greatest risk is the diseases, viruses, and infections that can be transmitted in this manner, NOT the drugs. Educating these users on how to use drugs in a safer manner and where clean needs are available could be the way to save many lives, and maybe even rehabilitate people.
Submitted by admin on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 19:50.
Brought to you by GAAP (New College) and Empower and TRIP! (Central Toronto Community Health Centres)
4:30 PM: MEET AT THE WGSI LOUNGE
[NEW COLLEGE, WILSON HALL - 20 WILLCOCKS ST]
- Light refreshments and condom cupcakes will be served!
- Sexy condom art!
5 PM: TOTALLY RAD SEX ED WALKING TOUR! SEXY RESOURCES, COOL CENTRES AND MORE
- We will be visiting a number of sexual resource centres that cater
specifically to youth as we make our way to Queen West Community Health
- Chalk art and conversation along the way!
be travelling to Queen West Community Health Centre by foot. If you want
to travel with us, but require supports to do so, contact us and we can
6 PM: HARM REDUCTION MOVIES, DINNER AND MORE AT QUEEN WEST COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTRE! [168 BATHURST ST]
- ALL ARE WELCOME to a film screening on HIV/AIDS!
(NOTE: while space is limited for the walking tour and dinner, all are welcome to view the films at 6:30)
- Empower Digital Stories: 8 short films produced by youth through the
Empower project that deal with diverse themes surrounding HIV/AIDS and
the social determinants of health
- Candlelight Vigil at the Russian
Embassy: a short interview documentary with activists about the need
for harm reduction programs to fight HIV/AIDS
SEXY DOOR PRIZES TO BE WON!
THIS EVENT IS YOUTH-FOCUSED IN AN LGTBQ POSITIVE AND ACCESSIBLE SPACE.
SPACE IS LIMITED! You are welcome to join us for the walking tour,
films, or both. FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER CONTACT:
(Please register! RSVPing to the Facebook event does not mean you are registered!)
This event is funded by the New College Principal's Innovation Fund.
Submitted by admin on Fri, 11/18/2011 - 17:05.
I woke up once on the front landing on a Queen West apartment building. It was late November, and nearly 4 am. I was by myself, and didn't have my purse. I was underdressed beneath my coat, and hungry. I walked in to a 24hr coffee shop, and felt sorry for the woman who had to work the late night shift. In retrospect, she probably felt sorry for me too. A man bought me a sandwich, and we sat together while I ate it and he drank coffee. I dont remember our conversation, but I do remember finding a camping light in my coat pocket as we spoke. I thanked him and left, then grabbed a cab home.
Now, you don't need to tell me I'm luck that I didn't “get hurt” that night. Because I did, I got very hurt. I got all sorts of hurt, the kind of hurt that lasts for years and resurfaces particularly painfully when you're asked to write something about sexual assault and nightlife. What had prompted me to leave in a hurry, such hurry that I had left my purse sitting on a bench where I had placed it so I could attempt to dance, was aggressive touching and kissing from someone had that I had had a brief and somewhat forced relationship with in the past. I remember trying to break lose, and the grip only tightening.
The thing with nightlife, especially in Toronto, is that there is no escaping the past. You will see the same people over and over again, and you can never know if the night will bring an unwanted encounter. You may be uncomfortably caught in a dark room, yelling no over the music, always hoping that they acted because they simply never heard you. Those whom you thought had disappeared, will reappear. You may be left vulnerable and alone when you try to escape, and the people who will see you may never know what happened. But they will think that what they know is that your skirt was too short, you were breast were too big, and you were wearing too much make up.
The records get erased. Reviews, and pictures rarely hold the truth about the dark side of the night. When it comes down to it, talking about sexual assault is “bad for business” and nightlife is supposed to be business that revolves around fantasy and fun, a refuge from the day. The biggest lie is that the complications of day won't seep in to the night. The reality is that they do. The same inequitable gender dynamics that live during the day do not die at night. And I believe that we've had enough.
I think it's time to talk.
Submitted by admin on Wed, 11/09/2011 - 17:17.
Can Toronto's clubland chaos be reined in?
Four stakeholders in Toronto’s nightlife community—Yamina-Sara Chekroun (youth-outreach worker/event promoter), Nav Sangha (DJ/venue owner), Mike Homewood (Homewood Security) and Samantha Wells (Centre for Addiction & Mental Health)—came together yesterday at the King West Hyatt Regency to take part in an informative and lively panel discussion moderated by entertainment lawyer and film impresario, Jerry Levitan. A crowd of 70-odd students, club operators, fun-loving partiers, and security- and law-enforcement professionals came out to share their concerns and offer suggestions for managing issues like sexual aggression and illicit drug use in Toronto’s club community. These were the most pertinent talking points:
1. Pay your security staff better
Surly security staff might take a courteous change of heart if they were paid better. “A security guard makes $13-$20 an hour, and that doesn’t include their license, which costs upwards to $500,” said Homewood. As well, some security might be less committed to their job since many only work for extra cash on the weekends. But, at the end of the day, it’s the bar owners that dictate what type of behaviour is acceptable.
2. Clubbers need better education
“When you turn 19, you go to the club and that’s all you know,” said Arthur Geringas, General Manager at Richmond Street’s Club XS. “Unfortunately, the stereotypes are true: 905ers just have less education on these issues—they should be taught effects of drugs and alcohol in school so that they can behave better.” Susan Shepherd, of The Toronto Drug Strategy, piped in: “But there is no mandatory drug education in public schools past Grade 9.”
3. Social media is for more than just event promotion
Along with being a DJ, owner of Wrongbar and co-owner of The Great Hall, Sangha is also something of a social-media creeper. “I came mostly as an observer, to listen to the voice of the youth. They are very no-holds-barred when it comes to expressing their opinions. It’s so important to be monitoring all avenues, especially social media, because it’s not like nightclubs have suggestion boxes.”
4. Toronto is stuck in the past
Toronto still carries a lot of Prohibition-era baggage that prevents progressive thinking. It’s illegal to be drunk in public, even in bars and clubs, according theAlcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). “We don’t make the rules, we just enforce them,” said a representative. The situation creates a catch-22 for bar owners who will often toss out inebriated patrons into the cold, without their jackets and belongings, so as to not risk a fine.
5. The kids like to drink
According to the Toronto Safer Nightlife survey, which polled over 300 Toronto club goers aged 19-29, 90 per cent of participants admitted to drinking before going out to the club. About half of the partiers said they down three to five before heading out, most claiming high bar prices as a reason. (Side note: binge drinking isdefined by Toronto Public Health authorities as five or more drinks in one sitting.) When it came to describing their drinking habits at the club, respondents claimed they drank till they felt “drunk enough” (62 per cent), till they ran out of money (36 per cent), till last call (34 per cent) or till they felt ill (32 per cent)—that is, if they weren’t among those who “go all night” (40 per cent).
Submitted by admin on Tue, 10/18/2011 - 00:21.
Tuesday November 8, 2011
2:30pm – 6:00pm
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Regency Ballroom B
370 King Street West
Join us for a conversation with youth and bar/club operators about safety issues in Toronto’s nightlife scene. Topics include pre-drinking, illicit drugs, sexual aggression and strategies for reducing harm. Come out and share your views and ideas for creating safer bars and clubs.
Jerry Levitan (lawyer, musician and Academy Award nominee) will moderate the forum. Speakers include Yamina-Sara Chekroun (youth outreach worker/event promoter), Nav Sangha (venue owner/DJ), Mike Homewood (Homewood Security) and Samantha Wells (Centre for Addiction & Mental Health).
Featuring DJs and light refreshments.
RSVP on Facebook @ http://tinyurl.com/SaferNightlife2011
This event is brought to you by the Toronto Safer Nightlife Committee comprised of youth, TRIP!, Toronto Public Health, the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario, the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, Asian Community AIDS Services, the Entertainment District Business Improvement Area, the Parkdale Village Business Improvement Area, the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Social Development, Finance & Administration and Municipal Licensing & Standards.
Submitted by admin on Fri, 10/14/2011 - 15:30.
This morning we had the honour of presenting at the Centre for Additions and Mental Health on Dance Drugs and Harm Reduction. Feel free to check out our presentation and share it with your friends, family and service providers.
Submitted by admin on Tue, 10/04/2011 - 17:38.
Health education can be tricky. There's
many factors to consider when implementing a public health campaign.
Demographic of the target audience and the right tone when addressing this
audience is key. Oftentimes, especially with campaigns geared at youth and drug
use things get topsy-turvy. The wrong tone can mean an ineffective, often
counterproductive campaign. Anti-oppression should be a core value of all
education. Judgement and/or discrimination needs to be avoided at all costs.
Education is key and honesty goes a long way. This seems pretty simple and
Unfortunately, many health campaigns geared
at youth do the exact opposite. Many drug prevention efforts rely on scare
tactics and abstinence-based “Just Say No” approaches. Youth who use drugs will
do so regardless of whether society shakes the finger at them or not. Things
aren't white and black, people partake in different risks therefore health
education should cater to all sorts of individuals. People who use drugs get
shunned, marginalized, pushed out of society and left feeling guilty about
their lifestyle. Health education should focus on the education rather than on
trying to scare people straight. We should be teaching people about the risks
associated with different activities, and encourage critical thinking in order
to empower individuals to make informed choices that affect their bodies and
There is an unspoken tension in the social
service sector between substance prevention and harm reduction tactics. This is
counterproductive. Harm reduction's main mandate is to lower risk levels of
current drug users, as well as getting individuals into and familiarized with
the healthcare system and providing referrals to other health services
including recovery upon request. The main mandate for prevention is to minimize
drug misuse/abuse within society and thus improve the overall health of our
communities. These two philosophies to healthcare can and should be adjacent.
However, many prevention campaigns still
continue to use scare tactics and demonize drug use and drug users. Instead,
prevention should focus on recovery services for those who are ready and
willing to get help. Not every person who uses drugs is an addict and society
can't impose the same standards for everyone. The best way to identify a
problematic drug habit is by the individual after proactive self-reflection.
You can't help someone who doesn't want help and labelling people as “addicts”
or “junkies” further oppresses those who use drugs. Harm reduction should be
seen as secondary prevention. It is crucial to provide healthcare services for
individuals who use drugs since oftentimes the ritual or way of consuming
certain substances is far riskier and detrimental to the individual and
society's overall health than the drug itself. A great example of this is
sharing needles, straws, pipes and works. All these activities put individuals
at risk of transmitting a virus that is a far greater risk than the drugs being
We need to be progressive with health
education not retrogressive. I encourage you to think twice before bashing
crucial, essential and much needed harm reduction services and when
implementing prevention campaigns. We need to start thinking about people being
affected by these issues with more care, diligence and an open mind. Next time
you see a person who uses drugs, think about why they are where they are in
life rather than blaming it on their use and walking past blindly.
Submitted by admin on Mon, 08/29/2011 - 19:30.