Karmik – Harm Reduction
Karmik – Harm Reduction
I recently had the pleasure of meeting one of the founders of the Karmik harm reduction initiative while attending a music festival in Costa Rica; Munroe was the manager of harm reduction for the festival. Upon arrival back to Canada, Gareth (the communications director) told us more and I am really into the service they supply at festivals and support it 100%. I feel the word definitely needs to be spread about services like this so it can be more abundantly available at festivals across the globe. Read more about what they do and so forth below. Much love to the Karmik crew!
Introduction to Karmik
Karmik is a west coast harm reduction initiative based out of Vancouver BC, focusing on pragmatic harm reduction strategies in nightlife and music festival communities. We have been around for more than two years supporting events, attending conferences, and training volunteers. In acknowledging the fact that aspects of party culture are inherently hazardous, we encourage safer practices while emphasizing peer support and non-judgement. We provide event attendees with resources such as condoms and lube to promote safer sex, as well as straws to prevent the spread of HIV and Hep C through the use of insufflated drugs. Earplugs, water, and info cards are also available at our booths. Through these means and others, we strive to become a beacon of responsible party culture within the community.
Karmik was founded by Alex Betsos, Margaret Yu, and Munroe Roe, bringing combined experiences in addictions counseling, mental health, drug policy and event production. The group came together through drug policy based social activism, as Margaret and Alex have both been involved in the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSD) and Munroe is an experienced speaker at drug policy conferences. While Karmik focusses largely on event-based outreach work, drug policy continues to be an area of interest for its founders. Alex is speaking at Washington D.C. this coming summer and in November, Munroe will be in San Diego, CA for the National Harm Reduction Conference presenting with GRIP (Montreal’s harm reduction organization). Karmik has also worked with many public officials, including our local health authorities. In addition, we have helped peer review and contribute to government and research works for organizations such as Uvics Center for Addiction research (CARBC).
What started as a three person initiative has grown significantly, and we have now worked over 50 events and 5 festivals, with a very busy summer coming up. This includes our upcoming second year organizing the safe haven at Pemberton music festival. With the help of our dedicated volunteers, we are excited to create a space as inviting as last year’s by providing coloring books, Lego, and themed decorations. As with all our events, we also pride ourselves in offering an ear for those who need to talk, and offering compassion to those struggling through difficult situations.
Like what we do? Karmik is always looking for new people to get involved and we have just announced our spring volunteer training dates. Make sure to visit us if you are planning on attending Pemberton music festival, or follow us on facebook to hear about our other events. Above all, educate yourself and keep it safe on your nights out! Much love from Noize.fm Radio & the Karmik crew!
Now that you know more about Karmik and what they have to offer including other harm reduction services. Make sure you know where the safe area and information booth is at the events you go to. You never know when you, somebody you know, or even a stranger you are helping out may need to stop by to get some information, relax & clear the mind, or just enjoy the peaceful vibe amongst the chaos around them.
If there is no harm reduction in your area, bring it up with the event organizers and let them know it would be a great addition to help their attendees. Alternatively, if you are located in the area simply hire Karmik to do the work since they are great at what they do! Use your common sense while out partying. Educate yourself and keep it safe on your nights out! Much love from Noize.fm Radio & the Karmik crew!