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Sanctuary Training: Psychedelic Harm Reduction

On Saturday, June 16, The Psychedelic Society of Western NY (PSWNY) will be hosting Sanctuary Training: Psychedelic Harm Reduction – a training event that will teach people how to properly help/guide those who are susceptible to incurring psychedelic harm upon themselves at events where psychedelics are typically available. The psychedelic harm reduction training is being held at PSWNY’s community garden at 294 Potomac Avenue on Saturday, June 16, from 6 PM to 7 PM (see Facebook event). 

“The event is a training to teach people how to help those who are having a ‘psychedelic emergency,'” said event coordinator Kwasi Adusei. “Or in other words, they overindulged and are having a difficult time, but they’re otherwise healthy and don’t need medical services. We’ll be going to music festivals and setting up a space for this type of care.”

PSWNY is dedicated to psychedelic research and harm reduction through community involvement and education; advocacy in science, health, human rights and civil liberties.

At first, when I learned about this training event, I wasn’t quite sure about what to think, until I realized that I’d been to enough concerts and festivals where I saw someone that probably could have used a service of this nature. There are enough people using psychedelics at events, that occasionally someone is going to have a bad trip. And when that happens, in the midst of a public gathering, the masses can probably make it even more frightening for someone who is experiencing a psychedelic melt down. That’s where PSWNY comes in. Trained PSWNY members are able to help guide a person who is having a bad trip, by offering psychedelic harm reduction in the group’s support tent.

The tent that we’re using isn’t staffed by medical personnel or security, but rather we’re working in collaboration with the festival’s medical and security supporting each other,” said Adusei. “If people need medical attention, they’ll go to the medical tent. We may do simple assessments when people come directly to us, like looking for dehydration, but that’s the extent of our medical involvement. The training is taking place at our community garden. It’s a garden we started to educate people about permaculture and we’re growing food that will be free to the community members around the garden. Any excess food will be donated to Friends of the Night People. So the training will give people an opportunity to learn about ‘psychedelic harm reduction’, but also see our garden and learn how they can become a part of it. We’ll always be looking for people to help weed and water the garden as time goes on.”

The Sanctuary is a space of specialized care for those undergoing a difficult psychedelic experience. Taking psychedelics may produce overwhelming feelings made worse without the proper setting. Alternatively, these experiences can help users find new levels of growth and self-discovery. Through a harm reduction approach, the Sanctuary provides a safe and calming environment that can help someone undergoing a difficult psychedelic journey to positively integrate their experience.

The training is guided by four principles outlined by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and their project that inspired Sanctuary, Zendo. These principles are:

  • Creating safe space
  • Talking through and not down
  • Sitting and not guiding
  • Difficult is not bad

Through this model, Sanctuary aims to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and security interventions, while fostering compassion.

Sanctuary Training: Psychedelic Harm Reduction

Hosted by The Psychedelic Society of Western NY

Saturday, June 16, 2018

6 PM – 7 PM

The Sanctuary Garden – 294 Potomac Ave, Buffalo, NY 14213-1259

See Facebook event

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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