Side Event: Trippin’ Through Nightlife: Innovative Approaches Preventing Harms and Risks of Drug Use in Recreational Settings

Organized by France, Lithuania and Portugal, and Pompidou Group (Council of Europe).

Grazina Belian, Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department, Lithuania: In festival spaces, provide services including information, rapid HIV tests, alcohol intoxication testing, psychological help, drinking water, condoms, and safe place. A lot of discussion with music festival attendees to provide evidence-based, unbiased information without stigmatizing or fear-mongering. In Lithuania, even small possession of drugs is criminalized. People are afraid, Do not want to ask for help even if they need it. Encourage them to ask for help if they need it. Results over three years include 11 festivals in 5 different locations and almost 40,000 visitors. Takes a lot of time to obtain trust of festival goers and municipal representatives. One of our municipalities allowed music festivals if we are in attendance. Would like to expand to other settings, like nightclubs and bars. Training for law enforcement on dealing with intoxicated people. Positive evaluation of services by festival goers. Everyone counts, and best results are when all sectors work together towards a common goal. Drug checking is not permitted in Lithuania.

What is the role of the peers? Mixture of professionals and volunteers, some of whom in both groups are people who use drugs. Train the team together before the festival season begins so they have the same knowledge and understanding.

Drug checking is excellent for monitoring the market and giving accurate information to people who use drugs to help them make informed choices.

Working with guards. Psychological interventions. Using volunteers from phone lines for youth at the festival.

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