HARD Day of the Dead permits local police to distribute drug safety handout
Following the deaths of two young girls at this year’s Hard Summer, the LA-based event production team is taking necessary measures to ensure that guests can stay safe while having fun. For Day of the Dead, Hard has reduced festival attendance, upped the minimum age to 21+, and even proposed a media blackout that they later rescinded; and now, they’re working with the Pomona Police Department to distribute drug safety handouts on ecstasy education.
This weekend 20,000 copies of their “Play Hard, Not High” initiative will be handed out during the two-day event, taking place at the Pomona Fairplex, the same site of the summer installment. The campaign’s origins date back to 2010 when Los Angeles County formed a task force to push for ecstasy awareness, resulting from the year’s rave-related fatalities. The crew pushed for stricter security and better access to free water and medical services, but the drug safety campaign itself was nixed when political tension amounted from the board of supervisors.
The task force was re-built following last summer’s deaths, and they realized that drug safety education was missing from their initiatives. The group couldn’t assemble their own advice in time for the event, so Pomona Police stepped in to resurrect ideas from the 2010 campaign. The handout describes MDMA, its negative effects, and troubling signs to look for. DOTD will still have security check points and amnesty boxes at the event gates, but the handout assures that arrests will not be made if possible overdoses are reported. However, they do assert that arrests will be made for those caught in non-medical, non-emergency scenarios.
This drug safety initiative is a step in the right direction, but executives from pro-education third-party groups fear that this effort sends mixed messages and lacks complete clarity. Nonetheless, the fact that this push comes directly from local police means that there is finally some reformation underway, which is something that we at Dancing Astronaut have supported in our Editorial Features on addressing the RAVE Act. Read Part 1 and Part 2.