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The Toronto Raver Information Project Comments on the U.S. Crackdown on Raves

Found from DanceSafe
E-News Issue No. 4

February 1-7, 2001
Interview by Jane Tseng, DanceSafe

The Toronto Raver Info Project (TRIP) is a community based peer education and harm reduction group in Toronto, Canada. TRIP was founded approximately five years ago and works out of Queen West Health Center. They have established themselves as experts in health issues surrounding the late night dance music scene in Toronto through their community forums and booth outreach services at events. In light of recent events in New Orleans, E-News talked with Erin Lewis, Project Director of TRIP about how they worked with city officials and the rave community a year and a half ago when the city of Toronto placed a ban on raves.

E-News: How would you compare the recent events surrounding raves in the United States to the government crackdown on
raves in Toronto last year?

Lewis: There are a lot of things that are very familiar, they sound very much like what was going on here in Toronto last year. The city was saying that raves are warehouses of sin. There was story in the newspaper wherethey took pictures of ecstasy pills and put them next to a table full of guns, saying that all of these drugs and these guns were confiscated at raves, when the reality is that there has never been a gun found out a rave in Toronto. They really sort of played up on the hazards of the environment saying that there weren't any washrooms and people were filling their water bottles up out of toilets and things like that. In response, what they did was ban raves off of the city's property, because the city doesn't support this kind of behavior. They said "You can't have anything there, because your parties are too dangerous". The problem was that the city property, the exhibition grounds in Toronto, is the most safe environment for large gatherings of people, because that is what it was built for. It is adequately zoned, it has exits, hundreds of toilets, running water, and its own security.

E-News: How did the ban on raves and the negative public attention on the rave scene affect the harm reduction work that TRIP does?

Lewis: Trip actually had to sit through this inquest into the death of a guy who died on ecstasy a year and a half ago at a party. We went through having our information out there on trial...having all of these powerful people from the city pulling apart everything in our information, telling us, "You're promoting drug use." They were saying that information like ours contributed to his death, and that we were making people want to use drugs. That was absolute hell. But we're still kicking, right?

E-News: What steps did TRIP and the community take to react to the government crackdown?

Lewis: We did a lot as TRIP and the Toronto Dance Safety Committee, whose chair was the project manager of TRIP at that time. The Party People Project, which is a community activism project that started out of one of TRIP's community forums, is a group of about 150 people from the rave community in Toronto that also happened to be politically active. They were also very loud and very political. They took every measure to fight the government in the crackdown and really worked to mobilize themselves. When the city government was deciding whether or not to keep the ban in place, the Party People Project and the Toronto Dance Safety Committee put together a huge information package and an accompanying video that really went in depth to dispel all of these myths about the community. They did a lot of political lobbying. One of the things that we did was to organize a large rally at city hall and we were able to pull together about 20,000 people for
that. We had say "Hey, we're here, and we dance, and its not just ravers that you would be shutting down through this crackdown".

E-News: Did the rave community enlist the support of any other organizations?

Lewis: The way that everything was worded in this government crackdown meant that if they were going to be banning raves, they would be banning a number of large exhibitions through the city, a number of multi-cultural festivals, the gay pride ball, and things like that. It really alarmed a number of other communities as well. We really worked to get their support, and to help to fight this.

E-News: When the city lifted the ban on raves, did the govornment create more regulations on how parties would be thrown?

Lewis: The protocols for safer dance events was initially carried out by the Toronto Dance Safety Committee, which is affiliated with TRIP. We were very closely involved in writing that protocols and working with the city to find some room for agreement. The police force, and the city of Toronto, and the media were really working together on this to shut down the scene and there are a lot of residual affects from that. There are a lot of protocals in place that make it really hard for people to throw parties in Toronto. It has caused a lot of division among the rave community. People started finger-pointing. Who wants to work with the city on something as sacred as your dance floor? We shouldn't be in this situation anyway. But unfortunately, we had no choice. All of these promoters in the city and all of the party kids in the city could get busted if we hadn't worked with the city to find some common ground. The biggest fight around that was to define what constitutes a rave, and what constitutes a raver. That was a really tough one to define. We had to be very choosy with our words, and very careful as to how we would define a rave, so that other groups that throw events that aren't necessarily raves, wouldn't fall into the same sort of situation.

E-News: What experience or advice can you give on how to deal with a situation where your community is being unfairly targeted?

Lewis: You have to be really proactive. You have to say, "we're going to fight this, we're going to win."

FDA Press Release on Ketamine Recall

Teva Animal Health, Inc. expands a voluntary nationwide recall of Ketamine Hydrochloride Injection, USP CIII 100mg/mL in 10mL vials

Denise Bradley
Tel: 215-591-8974 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- December 21, 2009 - Teva Animal Health, Inc. is expanding a nationwide voluntary recall of Ketamine Hydrochloride Injection, USP CIII 100mg/mL in 10mL vials for all lot numbers within their expiration dates to the Veterinary Level.  This product had previously been recalled to the distributor level and is being expanded as a result of an increased trend in serious adverse events associated with this product.

Veterinarians who have this product in their possession are instructed to cease using the product immediately and return it to their distributor.

Ketamine Hydrochloride is a rapid acting, non-narcotic, non-barbiturate agent for anesthetic use in cats and for restraint in subhuman primates. This recall is being conducted as a result of an increased trend in serious adverse events associated with this product, including lack of effect, prolonged effect, and death and involves all lot numbers within expiration.

Teva Animal Health, Inc is voluntarily recalling the aforementioned product. The FDA has been apprised of this action.

Consumers with questions may contact 800-759-3664 from 8:00am – 5:00pm CST Monday-Friday.

 More information here with complete list of brand recall.


 Mephedrone (aka 4-methylmethcathinone)

Max Volume aka M-Cat 

The trip:

- feels euphoric, somewhere between cocaine and MDMA, but different than either. Closer to MDMA, but just as expensive or more than coke!
- is much better than MDMA for sex (most people on MDMA don't get horny at all, some can't get erections -- no problems like that here)
- trip comes on and ends very suddenly (bang, there it is... bang, where'd it go?)
- lots of people say it gives them a compulsion to redose, but each time is less effective
- burns like hell when snorted and tastes disgusting (especially the drip) but feels great enough that lots of people think the initial pain is worth it
- strong smell (one user on Erowid compared it to ammonia)
- fast onset (10-20 minutes), medium-short duration (2-3 hours), somewhat of an unpleasant crash for about an hour, not much of a hangover at all
- a common dose with pretty decent effects seems to be 100 mg. 50 mg seems too mild for some and 200 can be overwhelming.

Health effects:

- very caustic (ie, it burns), so causes quite a lot of damage to the nose, sinus and back of the throat when snorted
- high potential for addiction, seems a lot worse for that than MDMA, partly because of the short duration and sudden end making people want to redose
- rather toxic. LD-50 is totally unknown and we only have a vague idea of the long term health effects, but everything we know suggests it's potentially bad news. Handful of deaths, lots more hospitalizations, plenty more adverse reactions that didn't seek medical help
- one of its metabolites, 4-methylephedrine, is a potent vasoconstrictor, which means it causes your blood vessels to squeeze up, which means that it's really dangerous to use if you've got high blood pressure or are pregnant (vasoconstrictors during pregnancy lead to the fetus not getting enough blood supply, leading in turn to poor development and low birth weight)
- in the a lot of the described adverse reactions, people report skin turning blue or purple. If you notice this happening, get help immediately!


For more info see:

Mephedrone: the users, the dealers, the debate

Mephedrone: From plant food to Britain’s party drug

NeuroSoup Mephedrone 


Drugs, drugs, drugs, which are good, which are bad?

Drugs, drugs, drugs... take this survey and tell us what you've done! The TRIP! Project's own volunteer Leanne WIlkins is undertaking her masters research in cognitive neuroscience and is looking to see the effects of various drugs on the mind. It's 100% confidential so fill it out today! Note that the survey does take time so make sure you have some set aside. Be sure to read the consent form so you know the benifits and risks of participating.

Take the survey today!

EMPOWER: Youth, Arts, and HIV/AIDS Activism Launch Party!

Empower Manual


Empower: Youth, Arts, and HIV/AIDS Activism
Launch Party!


Check out Drag Performances,
Interactive Panel Discussions, Fashion,
Visual Art Exhibitions, Discussion Panels, and Sexy Safer Sex Information! Come
out to an interactive, action-packed World AIDS Day event with performances,
exhibitions and discussions by local youth activists and educators,
service providers and community organizers. This is a Queer Positive


This FREE interactive symposium will
launch "Empower: Youth, Arts and
Activism: An HIV/AIDS Activism Manual for Youth by Youth." For more
information on the manual, see below.


Performances, Exhibition and Discussion by:

  • Kim Simard, Prise Positive
  • Jay, Romeo and Company, sprOUT, Griffin Centre
  • Nidhi Punyarthi, Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention
  • Jessica Yee, Native Youth Sexual Health Network
  • Jessica Whitbread, No Pants No Problem Party Organizer
  • Henry Luyombya, Peer Educator, Planned Parenthood
    Positive Prevention
  • Jenn Yee, Visual Artist
  • Lulu Gurney and Aaron Chan, Youth CO
  • David Lewis-Peart, Mary Yehdego, and Shani Robertson,

More to Come!

Everyone is welcome. Snacks & Refreshments
Provided. Guests will
receive a free copy of the manual upon arrival.
For questions or more information, please contact



Date: November, 26, 2009
Time: 6:00 - 9:00pm
Place: William Doo Auditorium*,
New College, University of Toronto.
45 Willcocks
(SW Corner of Willcocks and Spadina. Closest Subway Station: Spadina)

* Wheelchair accessible.

*** The launch will be preceded by a
talk by Dr. Jessica Fields
(Sociology, City University of New York), "Under Lock and Key: Sex
Education and the Effort to Prevent and Protect", as well as a
networking reception. These events are organized as part of the Youth
Sexual Health RIG.

Event date/time: November 26, 2009
4:00 - 5:30: Dr. Jessica Fields talk - Women and Gender Studies
Lounge, 2nd Floor Wilson Hall Residence (20 Willcocks)
5:30 - 6:00: Networking Reception
6:00-9:00: Manual Launch & Symposium - William Doo Auditorium (45


Empower: Youth, Arts, and Activism


The manual, Empower: Youth, Arts, and
Activism, is designed for youth
by youth, and features a diverse range of projects put forward by
passionate, inspiring and fired-up individuals committed to social
change. Each individual, group and project is committed to challenging
social and structural issues around HIV and AIDS. From HIV positive
youth fighting stigma to peer education projects and safer sex
parties, this manual honours the work of communities creating spaces
to talk about the issues that matter most. And? each project is
accomplished with the use of art!



Action Network
Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention
Centre for Urban Health Initiatives


Printing of the manual has been
generously supported by CATIE.
To order a FREE copy of the manual after the launch, please visit the
CATIE Ordering Centre at after the launch. CATIE Centre
Catalogue Number ATI-26158.

Peer Research 101


For Us, By Us: Peer Research 101 features peer researchers from Queen West and Access Alliance Community Health Centres.  Produced by TRIP! Coordinator Lisa Campbell Salazar it is an educational webinar on community based research ethics produced in association with the Toronto Community Based Research Network .

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.

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.


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.

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!

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