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With plenty of music festivals lined up on Vancouver Island and around BC this summer, Island Health is looking to share safety tips on drug usage when attending these fun events.

While festivals can be great experiences all on their own, people who are planning on using substances such as cocaine, ecstasy alprazolam (Xanax), methamphetamines, or heroin should be aware of the possibility of overdosing or the possibility of contaminants like fentanyl.

Island Health stresses that the safest way to prevent an overdose is to avoid substances completely.

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To help make sure you’re prepared for your festival adventures, here are 7 safety tips for drug usage from Island Health.

  1. Locate the harm reduction and first aid tents as soon as your arrive at the venue.
  2. Ask if drug checking services are available.
  3. Only take one substance at a time, do not mix them (as this increases the chance of overdose)
  4. Start with a small amount
  5. Be with friends while taking substances and tell them what you have taken, or think that you have taken.
  6. Know the signs of Fentanyl or Opioid overdose

Signs include:

  • Slow breathing or no breathing
  • Blue lips and fingertips
  • Unresponsive to noise, their name, or pain
  • Gurgling or snoring sounds
  • Small pinpoint pupils or clammy skin

7. Know how to respond to an overdose

Safety steps include:

  • Call 9-1-1- and festival first-aid immediately
  • Clear and open the person’s airway
  • Provide rescue breaths
  • Carry a naloxone kit and learn how to use it

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Island Health also notes that if you are at the scene of an overdose and call 911 for help, you will not be charged for possession of an illegal substance for personal use.

The Good Samaritan Act will also protect you from being charged for breach of probation or parole relating to simple drug possession.

Island Health encourages festival organizers and attendees to share tips about making safer substance-related choices.

For more information on overdose prevention you can visit Island Health’s webpage on overdose safety online here.