Stefanie Jones of the Drug Policy Alliance dishes on her Mysteryland US experience as a DanceSafe volunteer
Stefanie Jones, nightlife community engagement manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, had quite a bit to share on her first Mysteryland US experience – not from the eyes of a journalist or a DPA employee, but rather as a DanceSafe volunteer.
DanceSafe has seen great success this year, but as an organization rooted in harm reduction and peer-based education, it is inevitable that the non-profit would also encounter a number of hurdles. In June, DanceSafe was expelled from Electric Forest on the grounds that their pamphlets and means for educating festival goers were “too promotional.”
It’s for these reasons that Stefanie Jones recounts her shock when DanceSafe was not only allowed to host a booth at Mysteryland US, but was labeled on the festival’s map for attendees to more easily scout out. She goes on to discuss the skyrocketing of deaths at festivals – with EDC Vegas and HARD serving as the most obvious culprits – merely because most festival organizers choose to keep their lips sealed than to address this universal drug problem head-on.
If more festivals were like California’s Lightning in a Bottle, she argues, the amount of festival deaths experienced in the US would surely plummet. In addition to inviting DanceSafe to its grounds, LIB also welcomes the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies’ Zendo Project and PLUR Angels – both of go the extra mile to assist revelers who may be having a difficult time and are in need of professional attention. This, Jones argues, is what led to “A festival with no deaths, no major medical incidents, and a persistent feeling of goodwill among attendees and their local law enforcement and public health hosts in Monterey County.”
Aside from Lightning in a Bottle, Stefanie also looks to Portugal’s Boom Festival as an exemplary model for American music festivals. Boom offers drug checking as a means for keeping guests safe while also reiterating that not every drug – even if purchased from your best friend – can be taken for face value. Having decriminalized the use and possession of all drugs since 2001, Portugal has been able to leverage methods such as onsite drug testing. The result? Positive developments toward a healthier, death-free future.