The Manual of Psychedelic Support


While perusing the May 2015 edition of Erowid Extracts, I was referred to a website called PsychSitter that has a wonderful guide that gives advice for "setting up and running compassionate care services for people having difficult drug experiences at music festivals and similar events."

The guide was published under a Creative Commons license and is available as a FREE PDF download. It includes a history of psychedelic care services, legal considerations, how to recruit, build, and train a team, the care space, complementary therapies, case studies, and much more.

Having a safe space for people undergoing powerful transformational experiences at multi-day outdoor festivals is extremely important. Unfortunately, because of the RAVE (Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy) Act,  harm reduction services can be interpreted as illegal activity in the United States.

The Act makes it unlawful to "make available for use" any place "for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance." This can be broadly interpreted to target festival and event producers who have opted to provide any form of harm reduction services whatsoever. 

This can lead to producers being wary of even providing basic necessities like chillout spaces, available drinking water, drug testing reagent kit sites, and even the allowance of glow sticks, which have been associated in some people's minds with illegal substance use. This creates a situation where an already-difficult experience can turn into a nightmare for the traveler, who may end up in a crowded medical tent or the backseat of a police vehicle.

Groups like PsychSitter, DanceSafe, MAPS' Zendo Project, and the Full Circle Tea House are just a few of care service providers that are out there spreading positive vibes where they are needed the most. A petition has been started at Amend The RAVE Act that might be worth your checking out as well.