USA: Zendo Project, the psychedelic harm reduction service, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to expand its presence at live events. The campaign, which ends September 15, had already raised over 24% of its $60,000 goal in its first seven days.
Sponsored by the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Zendo Project provides a safe space and trained staff to care for individuals at festivals, concerts, and other events where people may choose to use psychedelic substances. Zendo Project staff and volunteers also work closely with event security and medical response teams to provide comprehensive psychedelic harm reduction services.
According to Billboard, 32 million people go to at least one music festival a year in the US, and a significant number of them will choose to use psychedelic drugs. Festival producers are increasingly recognising the necessity for spaces dedicated to helping people through the challenges that can result from the consumption of psychoactive substances. By providing community-based compassionate care, the Zendo Project reduces the number of arrests, sedations, and restraints at festivals and events.
In addition to its peer counselling services, the Zendo Project also provides in-person and online harm reduction trainings, teaching people how to work with challenging psychological experiences and creating a platform for open, responsible conversations about substance use. This year, the Zendo Project will also offer advanced training and outreach to emergency service personnel, mental health professionals, and law enforcement.
“Restraining or sedating people having difficult psychedelic experiences is usually unnecessary and can cause harm,” said MAPS Director of Harm Reduction Sara Gael. “By educating people about psychedelics and their effects, the Zendo Project is helping medics, law enforcement, and security personnel respond to these situations with compassion and deescalate situations when they arise.”
Since 2012, the Zendo Project has assisted over 2,900 guests and trained over 1,500 volunteers and dozens of law enforcement and medical personnel in the principles and practices of psychedelic harm reduction. The Zendo Project has provided services at Burning Man (Nevada), Boom Festival (Portugal), AfrikaBurn (South Africa), Envision Festival (Costa Rica), Lightning in a Bottle (California), Symbiosis (California), YouTopia (California), Sonic Bloom (Colorado), Electric Daisy Carnival (Nevada), and more.
Donations to the Zendo Project will be used to:
- Provide essential infrastructure such as structures, transportation, and supplies for community-based psychedelic support at Burning Man 2017 and other events
- Train additional volunteers and develop new resources for public trainings
- Expand the Zendo Project’s capacity to deliver psychedelic support services at festivals and events around the world
MAPS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organisation developing medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Since its founding in 1986, MAPS has disbursed over $33 million to psychedelic and medical marijuana research, education, and harm reduction.