PSYCHEDELIC HARM REDUCTION
What is Harm Reduction?
“Harm reduction refers to policies, programmes and practices that aim to minimize negative health, social and legal impacts associated with drug use, drug policies and drug laws. Harm reduction is grounded in justice and human rights – it focuses on positive change and on working with people without judgement, coercion, discrimination, or requiring that they stop using drugs as a precondition of support.” – www.hri.global
Some aspects of harm reduction include peer support for people engaged in the use of psychedelic substances. The Zendo Project described below offers peer support information and resources.
In addition to psychological considerations, there are safety and legal considerations involved in the use of many of these substances.
People take psychedelics which are not legal and there are real risks in doing so
To mention just a few:
- Contamination with impure “cutting” agents to dilute the substance.
- The addition of other substances such as highly potent and addictive fentanyl which can and does kill people is an epidemic.
- Manufacturers and dealers are motivated by money and are not concerned with your health and well-being. It’s a business for them. Taking care of you is up to you.
- Overdosing on psychedelics or mixing with other substances including prescribed drugs or alcohol can result in loss of consciousness or even death.
“Serotonin is a chemical your body produces that’s needed for your nerve cells and brain to function. But too much serotonin causes signs and symptoms that can range from mild (shivering and diarrhea) to severe (muscle rigidity, fever and seizures). Severe serotonin syndrome can cause death if not treated. Serotonin syndrome can occur when you increase the dose of certain medications or add a new drug to your regimen. Some illegal drugs and dietary supplements also are associated with serotonin syndrome.” — Mayo Clinic — learn more
- Psychedelics are widely considered by experts to be non-addictive in nature. However, “in some cases the chronic use of dissociative substances [such as ketamine] can lead to a state of dissociation generally characterized by schizoid qualities, including grandiose and paranoid delusion as well as other mental health issues. (see page III 55 in Staffords Psychedelic Encyclopedia — “Psychedelic drugs have been disparaged, exalted, politicized, romanticized, and outlawed. This extraordinary volume covers the history of their development and the controversies surrounding them”)
- If you use any non-prescribed substance, whether psychedelic or otherwise, such as cannabis, have them tested. It is sadly now common for substances to be misrepresented as something they are not, leading to great risk and harm to a user. You are important. Stay safe.
- It is also important to note that the possessing and purchasing of many of these substances is controlled by law in most countries. Please be aware of the laws and regulations in your area before engaging in any non-medical use of psychedelic substances.
The ZENDO PROJECT Psychedelic Peer Support
This year, millions of people will use psychedelics outside of supervised medical contexts, many of them for the first time. Many psychedelic users are unprepared to tend to a psychedelic-induced difficult experience if one were to arise. As part of our efforts to minimize harm related to the non-medical use of psychedelics, on this page we provide advice for helping someone having a difficult psychedelic experience.
It is not uncommon for psychedelic users to have difficult psychedelic experiences. This is most likely to happen with first-time users, especially with high doses and without adequate preparation or guidance. These experiences are sometimes called “bad trips.”
A difficult psychedelic experience is not necessarily a bad one. With proper preparation and understanding, it is possible to help a person having a difficult experience to receive the most benefit from it. Difficult psychedelic experiences can be frightening, but also among the most valuable experiences someone can have. Difficult psychedelic experiences can be the result of external factors, such as a chaotic environment or traumatic events, or the result of painful or troubling emotions that arise during the experience.
By working with these experiences, rather than trying to “talk someone down,” together the sitter and the psychedelic user can make a difficult psychedelic experience a chance for personal growth.
You can support the Zendo project—donate.
Follow the Zendo Project on Facebook
Four Important Principles of Psychedelic Harm Reduction
- Create a safe space
- Sitting, not guiding
- Talk through, not down
- Difficult is not the same as bad
WPD 6·20 supports these principals and intentions, while working towards a new and serious consideration of psychedelics, our mission is to bring awareness and to educate responsibly.
For a lot more information, please see the Zendo Project
LIVE PSYCHEDELIC PEER SUPPORT LINE
(Note: goes live April 14, 2021)
Put the number in your phone: 6-2FIRESIDE +1 (623) 473-7433
During the 12-month pilot program, the line will be open Thursday to Sunday, from 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. PST and Monday from 3:00p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PST. It will eventually be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
KNOW MORE …
KnowDrugs is an easy way to lookup drug testing results, pill warnings and drug alerts and provides you with drug info about more than 200 drugs, along with advice on harm reduction and safer use. Taking drugs always involves risks – however, if you do decide to take drugs, KnowDrugs can help you to take appropriate measures to reduce potential harms.
Erowid’s online library contains over 63,000 documents related to over 737 psychoactive substances, including images, research summaries and abstracts, FAQs, media articles, experience reports, information on chemistry, dosage, effects, law, health, traditional and spiritual use, and drug testing.
DanceSafe is a 501(c)(3) public health organization promoting health and safety within the nightlife and electronic music community. Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998 by Emanuel Sferios, DanceSafe quickly grew into a national organization with chapters in cities across North America.
DanceSafe has two fundamental operating principles: harm reduction and peer-based, popular education. Combining these two principles has enabled us to create successful, peer-based educational programs to reduce drug misuse and empower young people to make healthy, informed lifestyle choices. We are known for bringing adulterant screening (a.k.a., “pill testing,” “drug checking”) to the rave and nightlife community in the U.S., and for distributing unbiased educational literature describing the effects and risks associated with the use of various drugs. We also started the only publicly accessible laboratory analysis program for ecstasy in North America, currently hosted and managed by Erowid at EcstasyData.org. We neither condone nor condemn drug use. Rather, we provide a non-judgmental perspective to help support people who use drugs in making informed decisions about their health and safety.
PsychonautWiki is a community-driven online encyclopedia that aims to document the emerging field of psychonautics in a comprehensive, scientifically-grounded manner. Our primary motivations include:
- documenting all aspects of psychonautic theory and practice (including meditation, lucid dreaming, psychoactive substance use, sensory deprivation, ritual, etc.) from an evidence-based, academic perspective
- providing accessible education, encouraging safe practices, and reforming cultural taboos around the responsible use of psychoactive substances, using both expert and crowd-sourcing methods
- promoting a culture of free thought and personal autonomy by safeguarding the information needed to make informed decisions over altering one’s body and consciousness
If you microdose, you can join the world’s first mobile microdosing study!
Gain an increased awareness of how microdosing affects various aspects of your own health and well-being or how measures of your health and well-being fluctuate over time.
You do not need to use psychedelics at any dose to take part in this study; they are interested in observing those who are currently microdosing, and those who are not. You will NOT be provided with psychedelic substances, or with instructions on where to obtain them or how to use them, as part of this study.
A correlational study on the effects of microdosing psychedelic substances on cognitive performance and mental health.
SAFETY AND LEGALITIES
We do not encourage illegal activities!
With certain exceptions, the substances discussed on this website are illegal in most jurisdictions. However, there are areas in the world where it is legal to have and use psychedelics. Licensed clinics exist in many countries where psychedelics are administered in supervised, therapeutic contexts. We advise against the use of psychedelic substances in places where they are not permitted by law.
Psychedelics have known beneficial properties, and with rigorous scientific study, their benefits will continue to be demonstrated; we hope that progressive drug policies will result and make possible the safe, responsible, legal use of psychedelics. We encourage you to educate yourself about the nature of psychoactive substances and their legal status in various parts of the world. If you decide to have a psychedelic experience, we recommend that you plan carefully, and find a jurisdiction where possession and use is legal.
More information regarding safety and legalities to come. Please check back soon!