Published Jun 26, 2015Festival season is kicking into high gear, but the giant entertainment events are not always all fun in the sun. Following at least five deaths at Canadian festivals in 2014, the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse (CCSA) has released a new report aimed at preventing drug and alcohol related hazards at festivals.
The report was drafted after a meeting earlier this year between experts from across fields like health promotion and harm reduction, toxicology, substance use epidemiology, pre-hospital and emergency care, law enforcement, festival production, event security services, and policy and permitting. It recommends that a number of new safety guidelines be put in place at Canadian music festivals.
In terms of event organization and design, the report suggests establishing early relationships between the events and local community health services, providing adequate hydration and sanitization on-site, and disseminating information about known drug risks, particularly via social media.
As for promoting healthy choices at the events, the report suggests providing safe recovery spaces away from crowds with trained "trip sitters," displaying messages around the grounds about drug and alcohol safety, setting up booths to provide festivalgoers with free health materials (like condoms, sunscreen, water, ear plugs, etc.), and further researching the impact that drug testing might have at major events.
"We really need to have really clear and really good guidelines to make sure that if they get into that trouble they can get out of that trouble," CCSA researcher Matthew Young told the CBC.
There are also specific proposals for conducting research and implementing specific medical techniques, as well as the suggestion of establishing a national framework for policing and security at festivals — though it's noted that a "one-size fits all" approach doesn't take into account the size and space specifics of the wide-range of events offered across Canada.
You can see the full report online here, and if it doesn't scare you off, you can check out the extensive list of summer events in Exclaim!'s Summer Festival Guide.