TRIPping out

For casual substance users, a lesson in safer snorting techniques from TRIP can mean the difference between getting high and contracting Hepatitis C.

The harm-reduction group, founded in 1995 and based in Toronto, is a team of volunteers armed with information about sex, drugs and everything else you’ll never talk about with Mom.

The group goes to raves and parties teaching partiers safer ways of enjoying themselves, not preaching abstinence. From handing out condoms to sterile needles, TRIP provides party goers with safer methods of drug use.

Not all partiers are convinced of TRIP’s harm-reduction tactics.

“I would say the organization is a desperation move, in this day and age raves are changing so incredibly much,” said Jonathan Bingham, a Torontonian who has been going to raves/parties for over five years.

He said the scene has changed dramatically in the past few years, and raves aren’t as popular as they used to be.

Safe drugs?

“Using the words drug and safe is kind of strange,” said Bingham about the group’s philosophy.

“Drugs aren’t supposed to be safe; they are suppose to be experimental.”

He said a lot of places associated with the rave culture in Toronto, like the club System’s Soundbar, have shut down in recent years. When people want to throw raves, or “parties” as they are known to those in the scene, they have to rent a venue and the stereo equipment. Bingham said rental of space is very expensive, and the lost revenue cannot be made up by alcohol sales.

“People on drugs don’t make bar sales,” he said.


Bingham did say the partying scene has a lot of first-time drug users and organizations like TRIP could save someone’s life, especially at an all-ages party where the younger crowd is excluded from the bar.

“What are underaged kids suppose to do?” he said.

A TRIP representative was unavailable for comment. The group’s website offers information on most illegal substances, including what kind of high the user can expect depending on the dosage, and how the user will feel when coming down.

Despite the group’s safety message, the Toronto Police remain unconvinced of their tactics.

Constable Victor Kwong of the Toronto Police force would not comment specifically on Trip, but said, “We [Toronto Police] don’t support any kinds of illicit drugs no matter how safe they are done.”

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Posted: Nov 18 2006 12:00 pm
Filed under: News